Simone Leigh

Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter, 2016, © Simone Leigh; courtesy Simone Leigh; Luhring Augustine, New York, photo: Madeleine Hunt-Erhlich

Simone Leigh is a sculptor and, increasingly, a social sculptor. In her work for the 10th Berlin Biennale, the artist is drawn to the enduring tactics of black feminist resistance. Through an ongoing research process, Leigh has connected her social practice with the legacy of the United Order of Tents, which was set up in 1867 as a secret society of mutual aid among black nurses and still continues to give courage and succor to women as they enter the battlefields of everyday life.

Leigh’s video work Untitled (M*A*S*H) (2018) imagines a fictive order of black nurses operating on the front of the Korean War, a conflict that began between the United States and North Korea in 1950 and never officially ceased. Like M*A*S*H—the long-running American TV show (1972–83) it parodies—the work directs attention to the overlooked life in the staging grounds. Showcasing the agonizing choices faced by those who staff the tented encampments of war, it perhaps also serves as a reminder that our neighborhoods remain a warfront too. Using only artist’s tools, Leigh asks: How do we transform ourselves and others?

—Tavia Nyong’o

  • KW Institute for Contemporary Art


Untitled (M*A*S*H), 2018
Film, b/w, sound, 20′34′′
Cinematographer: Bradford Young
Screenwriters: Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts mit with Simone Leigh
Choreography: Rashida Bumbray
Producer: JaSaun Buckner
Courtesy Simone Leigh; Luhring Augustine, New York

Commissioned and coproduced by Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art
With the support of Luhring Augustine, New York; Knockdown Center, New York
Thanks to Goethe-Institut e. V., Salvador de Bahia