Paul Maheke

Chisenhale Gallery, London, United Kingdom
13 Apr 2018 - 10 Jun 2018

Paul Maheke, Production still (2018). Commissioned and produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London.Courtesy of the artist.

Paul Maheke, Production still (2018). Commissioned and produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London.Courtesy of the artist.

Chisenhale Gallery presents a new commission and the first solo exhibition in a UK institution by London-based artist Paul Maheke. The exhibition comprises an immersive installation occupying the entire gallery.

Through a varied and often collaborative body of work including performance, sculpture, sound and video, Maheke considers the potential of the body as an archive in order to address how memory and identity are formed and constituted. Most recently Maheke has worked with performance and video to create works that disrupt representations of queer Blackness, which have emerged out of a Western discourse.

In his work, Mbu (2017) first presented at Tate Modern, London, Maheke combines multi-layered video projection with dance and live percussion to explore autobiographical narratives and embodied histories. In previous works, such as his video diptych Mutual Survival, Lorde’s Manifesto (2015), Maheke addresses how power is articulated through intertextual relationships. In this work Maheke presents staged footage of dancers juxtaposed with a fictional manifesto sourced from writing by Audre Lorde and a hypnotic, bass-driven sound work.

Maheke’s commission at Chisenhale Gallery explores appearance and disappearance. Working with sculpture, moving image, sound and performance, the exhibition alters and adapts throughout its duration. Fabric curtains are installed across the gallery space, and function as both props for performances and as surfaces for video projection, while a wall mural outlines a speculative cosmology of interconnected worlds. Within the installation, a performer delivers a series of choreographies, influenced by visual references, movement, sound and text, alongside magic tricks for exhibition visitors. For Maheke, acts of producing visibility and invisibility, serve to question the presence and absence of Black and Brown narratives in dominant histories.

In this new body of work Maheke seeks to consider how modes of appearance and disappearance are endorsed and legislated, inviting visitors to assert their own understanding of possible pasts or futures. By speculating on worlds and life elsewhere, Maheke’s new commission at Chisenhale Gallery explores the exhibition as a site to re-articulate and reinvent forms of representation, as much as a device for developing a new lexicon for thinking about identities outside of identity politics.

As part of the commissioning process, a series of discursive events will be programmed in collaboration with Maheke and run throughout the duration of his exhibition. Maheke’s exhibition continues the programme for 2018, which includes major new commissions by artists Lydia Ourahmane, Banu Cennetoğlu and Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Through his work, Maheke questions how knowledge is produced, exchanged and consumed, themes that recur throughout Chisenhale’s programme for 2018.

Paul Maheke (b. 1985, Brive-la-Gaillarde, France) lives and works in London. Previous solo exhibitions include Acqua Alta, Galerie Sultana, Paris; What Flows Through and Across, Assembly Point, London; In Me Everything is Already Flowing, Center, Berlin (all 2017); and I Lost Track of the Swarm, South London Gallery (2016). Selected group exhibitions include (X) A Fantasy, David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Ten Days Six Nights, Tate Modern, London; Diaspora Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale, Italy; Posthuman Complicities, Akademie der Künste, Vienna (all 2017); Seeking After *deep within*, Grand Union, Birmingham; and Ways of Living, David Roberts Art Foundation, London (all 2016).


Opening: Thursday 12 April 2018, 6.30–8.30pm



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