Wura-Natasha Ogunji

Wura-Natasha Ogunji

The Kissing Mask

“Kissing can be so many things…a way of connection that is purely about recognising another person’s humanity, divinity and essence.” Meet artist Wura-Natasha Ogunji, who sees performance as a way to witness and transcend the flaws of human nature.

Wura-Natasha Ogunji’s performance “The Kissing Mask” shown in this film riffs off a drawing loved by the artist in which two people kissed. The drawing’s title “Who are you kissing when you kiss a mask?” became the starting point of Ogunji’s own work as she pondered the question. The mask is used to interrupt the viewer’s expectations - a break with modes of interaction we know and recognise. It provides “these separate, other worldly, non-sanctioned experiences that opens a space within regular ways of interacting,” the artist explains.

Wura-Natasha Ogunji (b. 1970) is a Nigerian-American performance and visual artist, who works in a variety of mediums from work on paper to performance art and video. Ogunji often uses her own body to explore e.g. homeland, identity and the presence of women in public space in Lagos, Nigeria, and is part of a movement of first-generation artists of the African diaspora, who have chosen to relocate their art practice to the home country of their parents. She has received several awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2012), and has performed at prominent venues such as Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis. She divides her time between Austin, Texas and Lagos, Nigeria. For more about her see: http://wuraogunji.com/home.html

Wura-Natasha Ogunji was interviewed by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen in connection to the Art Alive festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark in May 2016.

Camera: Kris Tait and Klaus Elmer
Produced and edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • 8 Artists

    On Painting

    ”A painting must always move beyond its subject,” says British painter Michael Simpson, who sees the practice of painting as ”giving form to an idea.” Hear how he, David Hockney and 6 other painters work with the classical art form.

  • Mette Winckelmann

    Woman to Woman

    ”You must evaluate whether the system you’re part of could be effectuated differently.” Meet artist Mette Winckelmann, who believes that abstract painting communicates deeper than language, and explore her visual take on gender politics.

  • Chigozie Obioma

    Everything We Do is Preordained

    Award-winning Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma calls his debut novel ‘The Fishermen’ “an Igbo version of a tragedy.” Meet the author and hear about his modern day metaphor of “the paradox that is Nigeria.”

  • Ed Ruscha

    Words Have No Size

    The road to being an artist was “like blind leading the blind” says Ed Ruscha, who grew to be one of the most recognised American artists of the 20th century. Hear the story of West Coast Jazz, his break with abstract art and L.A. in the 1960s.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Adam Caruso

    Novelty is nonsense

    "The European city is one of the great human inventions!” Adam Caruso advocates building with a deep sense of history and tradition. Meet the architect behind the award-winning Tate Britain conversion and numerous Gagosian galleries.

  • Thomas Hirschhorn

    A World of Collage

    Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn juxtaposes pixelated images from the media. His works are not about technology, says the artist: “I try to give form to what I can’t accept: that someone else can decide for me what I should do, see or think.”

  • Jonathan Safran Foer

    On Donald Trump

    Jonathan Safran Foer, star of American literature, offers interesting views on America’s new president and the consequences Trump will have on American culture. "The place for literature may be even more important than before," he says.

  • Dorte Mandrup

    Where Place Meets Sculpture

    Rising from the landscape in a place rich with materiality and history sits architect Dorte Mandrup’s new Wadden Sea Centre. Meet the renowned architect and see a building were “everything comes together.”

  • 5 Artists

    on Making Sculptures

    “All sculpture that I’m interested in knows that death is the inevitable conclusion.” Award-winning artist Antony Gormley sees art as the expression and generation of hope. Hear how he and five other artists work with sculpture.

  • Karl Ove Knausgård

    Literature Should be Ruthless

    Karl Ove Knausgård has enchanted the literary world with ‘My Struggle’, a novel of more than 3000 pages about his own life. Watch the star author discuss literature, writing and how his autobiographical style is closely connected to fiction.