Alison Jacques is pleased to announce a career-spanning presentation of work by Nicola L. (b. Mazagan, Morocco, 1932; d. Los Angeles, US, 2018), as part of Spotlight at Frieze Masters, curated by Laura Hoptman (Executive Director of The Drawing Center, New York).
The child of French parents, Nicola L. relocated to France in her early teens; in 1954, she relocated to Paris to study painting at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. By the time she rose to prominence in the mid-1960s, Nicola L. had developed an energetic and ambitious interdisciplinary practice that bridged performance, film, collage and textile, as well as the anthropomorphic furniture and inhabitable sculptures, key examples of which will be displayed at Spotlight.
In spite of this material dexterity, Nicola L. maintained an unfaltering commitment to the global feminist movement and the socio-political potential of the collective. Speaking of her carnivalesque performance The Red Coat, Same Skin for Everybody, first activated in 1970 at the Isle of Wight Festival and restaged in 2015 as part of Tate Modern’s landmark exhibition‘The World Goes Pop’, Nicola L. observed: ‘Red Coat was an ephemeral monument to freedom.’
First termed ‘Pénétrables’ (Penetrables) by critic Pierre Restany, these wearable fabrics were activated by participation. As will be demonstrated at Spotlight through such inhabitable banners as Same Skin For Everybody (1974/78), the works visualised a desire for a shared society, one in which communities might unite beneath a single metaphorical skin. As Erica F. Battle wrote on the occasion of Nicola L.’s 2017 survey at SculptureCenter, New York: ‘Skin, as she conceived of it […] is a metaphorical site through which the actualization of the individual can meet the possibilities of collective action.’