Focusing on performance and spatiality through physical labour and movement, the exhibition explores “the way the female body occupies and structures its surrounding space” through a variety of media including video, photo, textiles, latex, mirrors and more. Some of the works will “themselves perform: posing for pleasure, they seem self-aware of their capacity to incite desire and of their status as beautiful objects in the gallery, offered up to the audience for inspection.”
Paul Maheke‘s solo exhibition What Flows Through and Across at London’s Assembly Point opened January 18 and is running until February 25.
The exhibition is one of three that form a larger, international project called Becoming a Body of Water or How to Unlearn Resistance as Opposition that will also take place in Berlin (‘In Me Everything is Already Flowing’ at Center, 15 December to February 12, 2017) and Paris (‘Acqua Alta’ at Sultana Gallery, April to May, 2017).
What Flows Through and Across, meanwhile, includes an installation of film-based and sculptural works, as well as a choreographed performance called ‘Fleuves’ on February 16 that includes the soundtrack ‘Water Has Other Logics’ (2017) by sound artist Sophie Mallett. The evening also hosts an in-conversation between the artist and Isabella Maidment.
The premise of Maheke’s work “grounds itself in an artistic exploration of queer blackness within which dance and music-making have become coping mechanisms and the queer black body operates similarly to its main constituent: water — as an archive using its fluids as pathways to knowledge and information.”**
Paul Maheke’s What Flows Through and Across solo exhibition is on at London’s Assembly Point, running January 18 to February 25, 2017.
Multi-media artist Scourti will explore automated and fragmentary pieces of advice in her project ‘As long as whatever you are not true’. Linder, who comes from a dance background and works in choregoraphy, will perform ‘Perched but not provided for’and Maheke, who also recently exhibited I Lost Track of the Swarm solo at SLG, will perform ‘Seeking After the Fully Grown Dancer *deep within*’which will explore “Authentic Movement.”
Digital and analog instruments will be used in a live ambient drone performance by Brighton-based Techno duo ARD who is Jack Elgar and Ed Chivers.
Following on from Maheke’s solo show at the gallery, I Lost Track of the Swarm, which aqnb recently reviewed, the pair will discuss how dance has been key to Maheke’s practice and life in articulating and engaging with de-colonial and feminist thoughts.
Both artists work within an emancipatory project, focussing their research through dance in the case of niv Acosta whose ‘CLAPBACK‘ performance piece stunned bodies and the walls they inhabited at Berlin’s KW space back in March, and through installation, video and “furtive interventions” in Maheke’s, who surrounds and impresses the bodies in the rooms and videos that he creates.
An evening of screenings, performances and short intervals called ‘Bubble Bath’ is on at London’s Assembly Point on May 19.
Organised by artists and frequent collaborators Lea Collet and Marios Stamatis, the event seeks to gather and present videos by a group of artists such as Paul Maheke, Alice Theobald, Cecilia Bengolea & Jeremy Deller, and Anna Zett, that each consider “performativity in relation to identity and production values”.
There will also be videos, performances and shorter (time-based) works featured throughout the evening pitched as ‘intervals’ by artists James Lowne, Richard Müller and Rebecca Loweth (among others) all responding to live by drummer Tassos Mesogitis, according to Collet.
‘Bubble Bath’ is a part of a wider programme called Tableuxthat incorporates several events delivered in relatively quick succession over the month of May.
Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings are presenting installation How to Survive a Flood@GAYBAR at London’s David Roberts Art Foundation (DRAF), opening May 13 and running to May 28.
As part of the Curators’ Series’ Ways of Livingprogramme running to June 23, the London-based artist-duo will transform the DRAF Studio into a working bar featuring new video, audio, and light boxes that explore the history of New York gay resort Fire Island in relation to its present state of rapid gentrification and natural disaster.
The project aims to cite and critique the complicated identity of said LGBTQ community and its relationship with private property and privilege by reimagining it as a “queer, sci-fi and anarchic space” with works weaving CGI landscapes, found footage of post-Hurricane Sandy destruction and an audio piece produced by Jan Piasecki weaving together pop music and the sounds of ecological destruction.
Illuminated by a torch attached to his body, Paul Maheke creates a spotlight at South London Gallery. For his I Lost Track of the Swarm solo exhibition he appears on-screen, in the first of two rooms, where fragments of a dance sequence appear across three channels facing different directions. Running March 18 to May 22, the show is part of a series of events that marks the culmination of Maheke’s six-month Graduate residency (2015-16) at the Peckham space. Here he navigates his way through the liminal terrain of video with physical gestures drawing on hip hop —which he spoke about as part of ‘Beyond Beyonce‘ at Open School East last year —and subcultures of queer black identity like the Ballroom scene. The dance explores literal and metaphorical visibility, of bodies taking up space as political presence and resistance. The scanning spotlight suggests both the stage and the dance floor, and speaks of acts of collectivity and survival or of what the press release describes as “gestures of remembrance”, where movement is both expressive and transformative.
A lavender glow on the bottom edges of the screens draws the viewer’s eyes up to the light source which is a glowing ceiling tile and, despite the picturesque hue that saturates the space, inside it is what looks like dead cockroaches, clumps of hair and leaves, but the bugs are plastic and the hair synthetic. Maheke’s dance in the video runs in parallel to the semitransparent light box of objects overhead; in how lighting and music can turn a space into a place of gathering andaffinity, the synthetic hair as a cosmetic extension and assertion of identity. Despite appearing dead, there is a more positive take on transmutation through the symbol of the cockroach as resilient, and as animals that move and communicate in groups. Sewn onto the curtains in the space are sections of text that run across them, and though they remain still, motion is suggested in their content: “to read the waverin’ of the swarm as a resilient flicker, a gesture towards transformation.”
The second room is also suffused with a lavender tint from four strips of UV lighting that make the white synthetic floor rug glow. We hear a 23-minute sound piece by producer Nkisi, mixing Congo’s Leele and West African club music, as footsteps emerge and distorted vocals repeat the phrase “dance towards transformation”. There are two alternative ways to listen, through two speakers on the wall or through two sets of headphones at a greater intensity, and it is a contradictory space of contemplation and activity as people sit down on the rug to hear more closely while the beat induces their bodies to movement. The carpet and headsets, along with the custom-made curtain rails and bare floorboards in the next room emphasise the domestic architecture of the exhibition space. A tension between dynamism and stasis permeates both rooms, between the moving body in the videos and the beat of its soundtrack, in contrast to the quietude, the calm of the the floor rug and the inanimate debris collected in the ceiling tile.
The animation of the gallery through light and music is undercut by discomfort, from looking up and seeing outlines of cockroachesm, and hair, and leaves, and dirt from the street suggesting different realities behind the facade. The weaves that can be found in nearby salons in South London Gallery’s surrounding neighbourhoods reference both local Afro-Caribbean communities, as well as those in France where Maheke was born and studied. In using cultural forms from Francophone Africa, including Nkisi’s musical references, the exhibition presents diaspora communities as acts and spaces of liberation.
Maheke’s I Lost Track of the Swarm looks at the production and articulation of subjectivity in relation to the collective or said ‘swarm’, and the use of bodily comportment in relation to self-expression and desire. Through the diffused purple lighting and materials, it explores what the accompanying text calls ‘black femme’ subjectivities within a wider exploration of the position of Black artists in the West, in the face of institutional racism, gentrification and cultural appropriation.**
As the first instalment in the Ruptures “critical nomadic platform”, the event applies to the series remit of being held in “expected and unexpected” spaces with this one being “The Boardroom” of the ABI building and exploring the “contamination of the corporate” in art.
London’s Open School East is hosting an evening discussion exploring Black Feminist perspectives in hip hop culture titled Beyond Beyoncé: Use it like a bumper! on June 3.
The public conversation uses hip hop as the starting point in the exploration of Black female bodies and the existence they’re afforded in both mainstream and alternative cultures beyond iconic queens like Beyoncé, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.