Frieze New York: Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi

Randall's Island Park, 1 - 5 May 2019 
Booth F4

The gallery presents a solo booth of recent paintings by American born/South African multimedia artist, Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi.


Known for her small, evocative portraitures, Nkosi, in this curated solo presentation, introduces the gymnastics arena as a new space to explore existing narratives. One of the most personally affecting narratives in the history of the sport has been that of the precarious position of the Black body in traditionally white spaces. Elite gymnastics occupies a powerful symbolic position in the public imagination – the human body performing at, and sometimes seemingly beyond, the limits of the possible.

Gymnasts become actors, producing layered narratives of far-reaching metaphorical and political significance. The gymnasium is a vast, open-plan stage where dramas are enacted under a gaze of intense scrutiny. The artist sees echoes of the process of painting – expression within the demands of form, attention to balance, and geometry. She evokes parallels with the painter’s position in the contemporary art world.

The artist, like the gymnast, is a performer (if at times a reluctant performer) whose actions are subjected to constant examination, for whom increasing exposure brings a heightened experience of vulnerability.