Narrator: Senga Nengudi began making sculptures from stretched nylons in 1977. She’s said that this one is especially extreme in its form. 

Senga Nengudi: It was sort of like nerve endings. I took it to that level of extremeness, stretching it as far as it tolerated. And with the pantyhose I was really interested in the elasticity of it, because we as human beings have a lot of elasticity, not only with our bodies—you know, dieting and gaining weight again and then doing this and doing that and you know the psyche—that also stretching and being able to come back into some form of normality.

 In the beginning, I used my pantyhose as well as pantyhose of friends and so on, and I would go to thrift stores to get them because I wanted to have the idea that—and I washed them, washed them all the time—but I wanted this kind of sense of being used, of energy, still in the pantyhose.

 Narrator: The sculptures can seem humorous at first, but they have an edge.

 Senga Nengudi: So it's like that, it's a laugh, and then it's like, "oh…". For my mind, it's the best kind of comedy, because usually when comedians—they'll say something and then you go, "oh...". After that punchline, you have to rethink what they said, and it gives you a couple of layers to work with.


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