Nnena Kalu: Studio Voltaire elsewhere

Dates: 21 February–28 March 2020

Location: 30 Old Burlington Street Mayfair, London, W1S 3AR


ActionSpace artist Nnena Kalu was commissioned by Studio Voltaire to create a monumental exhibition in Mayfair. Kalu used her signature combination of recycled and everyday materials to wrap and build up boulder-like forms to create complexly layered sculptures that respond to the surrounding architecture.

For this commission, Kalu worked in the gallery throughout the duration of the exhibition to create a new series of large–scale sculptural installations. Binding, layering and wrapping materials, the artist’s sculptures reflected the duration, rhythm and process of their making. Kalu’s energetic installations became an extension of her physical movements, with an important relationship between the artist’s body and her sculptural forms. Visitors were able  to experience Kalu’s practice first hand as she worked on site throughout the duration of the exhibition.


The exhibition evolved as Nnena Kalu worked in the space for the duration of the show.


Kalu’s commission was the first in Studio Voltaire’s offsite programme titled ‘Studio Voltaire elsewhere‘ whilst they undertake The Studio Voltaire Capital Project, a £2.4 million major redevelopment of the site in Clapham. Other artists commissioned for further projects include Phyllida Barlow, Dawn Mellor and Monster Chetwynd. This was Kalu’s first major solo exhibition in a London institution, following acclaimed solo exhibitions at Glasgow International in 2018 and Humber Street Gallery, Hull in 2019.

Nnena Kalu was awarded an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant for the exhibition in London with Studio Voltaire.

Studio Voltaire were supported by The Elephant Trust for this exhibition with Nnena Kalu.



Read Frieze Magazine’s review of the exhibition here.

Read Elephant Magazine’s article about the exhibition here.

Read Disability Arts Online review of the exhibition here.


Image: Nnena Kalu, Studio Voltaire elsewhere, 2020, Commissioned by Studio Voltaire in partnership with ActionSpace, courtesy of the artist and Studio Voltaire, credit Francis Ware.


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