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A large gallery with white walls. In the center of the room a large square structure of white poles and purple fabric covering the surface. On the  side of the structure there is a large hole, which provides a view of the inside.

Nicola L. was born in 1932 in Morocco and died in 2019 in Los Angeles, where her estate is now based. In the 1960s she worked in Ibiza and Paris and was part of an intellectual and artistic cohort invested in both conceptual art and pop, which included Alberto Greco, Yves Klein, and Marta Minujín. Nicola L.’s oeuvre is full of humor and wit: men as sofas, knobs as nipples, unchaste applications of faux fur. She cleverly made literal the objectification of the female form. Generally her practice tackled representations of the body and the social persona through conceptual works, functional and domestic items, furniture, installations, paintings, films, performances, and diaristic and dreamlike drawings. Her caricatural anthropomorphic objects question the nature of subjectivity, especially in relation to her feminist concerns. Many of her sculptures invite the viewer to activate them through touch.

While living in Paris in 1960, Nicola L. started developing her Pénétrables, a series of canvases into which viewers could introduce parts of their bodies, getting into the skin of the painting. A magnum opus of this series, La Chambre en Fourrure (1969) was conceived as a playful environment, and yet it conveyed a strong political statement addressing the individual’s social envelope. Viewers were invited to insert their legs, arms, and faces into the outer shell of the freestanding “room” and would find themselves costumed in the work. The version of La Chambre en Fourrure on view here is a reconstruction of the original based on documentation compiled by the estate. Because of new restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, this work will not be activated during the exhibition.

In Made in L.A. 2020: a version, the artist’s work is present in two institutions, across Los Angeles. See Nicola L.'s work on view at The Huntington.

Biography

Nicola L. was born in 1932 in Morocco and died in 2019 in Los Angeles, where her estate now resides. In the 1960s she worked in Ibiza and Paris and was part of an intellectual and artistic cohort invested in pop, which included Alberto Greco, Yves Klein, and Marta Minujín. Her overall practice is full of humor and wit: men as sofas, knobs as nipples, unchaste applications of faux fur. She brilliantly made literal the objectification of the female form. Generally her practice tackles representations of the body and of the social persona through conceptual works, functional and domestic objects, furniture, installations, performances, and films. She sustained through the years a diaristic and dreamlike drawing practice. Nicola L. was interested in exploring the skin and surface of things, and her caricatural anthropomorphic objects interrogate the construction of subjectivity, especially in relation to her feminist concerns. In the 1960s she started developing her Pénétrables, a series of canvases into which viewers could introduce parts of their bodies and get into the skin of the painting. A magnum opus of this series, La chambre en fourrure (1969), was conceived as a playful environment, and yet it bore a strong political statement addressing the individual’s social envelope. Nicola L.’s work was exhibited at the Sculpture Center in Long Island City, New York, in 2017.