Paul Maheke

1985, France ; lives and works in London


Judging by the small puddles of water existing at the bottom of the aquaria and the damp marks coloring the edge of the curtains, it would seem that the Galerie Art & Essai has been flooded, and that the water has then receded, taking with it leftovers of hair and dust. With Paul Maheke, water, the primordial element which forms and surrounds us, has a powerful relation to the body. In his work, it is a feminist, political and poetic matter, a way of imagining identity and memory, like a fluid terrain, with many layers. In the filtered and slightly colored light which swathes Dans l’éther, là, ou l’eau (2018), the artist’s first solo show in an art center in France, household objects like aquaria and curtains co-exist with a cosmological dimension incarnated by the huge fresco depicting the planet Jupiter. At play in it is a kind of transparency, that of liquid and glass, but also a kind of invisibility. In the opaqueness, ghost stories and tales of occultism are possibly camouflaged. In an adjacent room, a magician’s hands filmed in the Dominican Republic make a series of gestures which make fire and cards appear and disappear.
The installation is inhabited, on an ad hoc basis, by bodies in motion which speak and sing. So the three female performers of I took everything and made it my own (the ghost is an appropriationist) intermingle stories of apparitions and oracular visions, weaving references taken from the literature of Edouard Glissant and Audre Lorde, and Michael Jackson’s dance moves. Later on, the artist, his sister Alix, and his brother Simon will explore the Kindoki, a system of magical thinking and practice hailing from the Lower Congo. In the context of brothers and sisters, A familiar familial place of confusion continues the investigation of the body, and the energies and memories which pass through it —its shadows.

En coproduction avec / co-produced by Galerie Art & Essai – Université Rennes 2

Avec le soutien de / with the support of Fluxus Art Projects 

Dans l’éther, là, ou l’eau,

Galerie Art & Essai - Université Rennes 2

with :

A fire circle for public hearing, 2018
Performance (46'), soundscape composed by Sophie Mallett (46'), fresco, metal railings, luminous globes, resin, synthetic hair, debris, fabric curtains dyed with tea and coffee, low sodium light gel, orange window filter, HD video on monitor

Mago Sessar, 2018
HD video (12'), vermillon red walls and carpet flooring

In the Watery Core of those Stories, 2017
Two fish tanks, resin, synthetic hair, coloured glass marbles, dried plants, printed paper

Courtesy of the artist