Across various forms and artistic disciplines, Maheke has sustained a long-term exploration into the ways that marginalised bodies, narratives and histories are made visible and invisible. Resisting a probing of identity that sits solely within the framework of identity politics, Maheke’s trajectory has continuously been channelled through spectral sensations. The artist has called in ghosts, spirits and non-human beings into his works to invite a re-orientation to the way that we, the audience, are able to perceive; which is to say, to reframe the way that we are able to see, feel and listen.
In reconfiguring the sensible, Maheke seeks to shift the dominant systems of discourse production and understanding that heavily depend on representation, visibility and legibility as the ultimate forms of truth, value and/or power. Instead, the artist nurtures the formation of a self through a state of in-betweenness; one where esoteric, spiritual, queer and embodied knowledge(s) help Maheke garner the potential for prophecy.
For the artist’s first solo exhibition in an institution in France, at Triangle in Marseille, Maheke invoked OOLOI, the third sex figure among the extra-terrestrial Oankali from Octavia Butler’s sci-fi trilogy, Xenogenesis. This fictional – yet, for all purposes here, real – entity infused the space with a heightened sensory field; one in which words, light, sounds and even subtle movements nodded to its invisible presence. Of particular sensory effect was the waving of sheer scarlet curtains that hung floor-to-ceiling across the vast expanse of La Friche Belle de Mai. Partitioning and dividing a physically vacuous room of the former tobacco factory, the curtains created a depth of field that blurred vision.
Maheke’s own body appeared and disappeared through these curtains as part of Sènsa (2019), a performance that saw the artist moving across the space, making himself at times as faintly visible – yet as palpable – as OOLOI. Both through his strategies for (dis)appearance and the seemingly improvised nature of his movements, Maheke’s Sènsa undoes the Western canon’s efforts of devaluing the transcendental by insisting on what is felt over what is seen; by being trusting of what the body and mind know, over what it has been asked to learn.
"Un lac inconnu", exhibition at Bally foundation, Lugano.
Shifted Realities, Paul Maheke, The Origin Of Death (2023), performance
© Galerie Rudolfinum, photo Libor Galia
GroupShow exhibition at the Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic
16/03/2023 - 11/06/2023
We took a sip from the devil's cup
Project Art Centre Dublin
YOU & I
Kunsthalle Bratislava, Slovakia
Photo Martin Polák
AS THE DAYS MOVE INTO NIGHTS, 2022, Diagonale, Montréal
Temporary Atlas: Mapping the Self in the Art of Today
June 25 - September 25, 2022
Paul Maheke, Breaking Waters
CAC, Cincinnati, US
May 6 - August 14, 2022
© Wes Battoclette
Paul Maheke, British Art Show 9
Aberdeen /Wolverhampton United Kingdom
© Mike Davidson
© Stuart Whipps
Paul Maheke, FIAC, Grand Palais Ephémère, Paris, France, October 2021
© Aurélien Mole
Paul Maheke, Futur Generation Art Prize, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kyiv, Ukraine, October 2021 - January 2022
© PinchukArtCentre & Maksym Bilousov
Paul Maheke, screenshots from "Mauve, Jim and John", 28 : 05 min, 2021
Produced by Artangel
Paul Maheke, "Taboo Durag", Performance at Goodman Gallery, London as part of Performance Exchange, 9th July 2021.
© Damian Griffiths
Paul Maheke, "(in)visible", Malmö Konstmuseum, Malmö, Sweden, June 2021 - January 2022
Paul Maheke, "Taboo Durag", "A light barrel in a river’s mouth, Glasgow International", UK, 2021
Courtesy The Roberts Institute of Art, Glasgow International and Paul Maheke
© Eoin Carey
Paul Maheke, "The Mauve Hour", Sultana Summer Set, Arles, France, May - July 2021
© François Deladerrière
Paul Maheke, Vanille Bleue, 2021, Goodman Gallery Johannesburg
Paul Maheke, "Vanille Bleue", Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, April - May 2021
Paul Maheke, "An apology, a pill, a ritual, a resistance", Remai Modern, Saskatoon, Canada, March - August 2021
© Blaine Campbell.
Paul Maheke, "La Clinique du Queer", Maison Populaire de Montreuil, September 2020 - February 2021
© Aurélien Mole
Paul Maheke, « Possédé.e.s », MOCO, Montpellier, France, September 2020 - May 2021
© François Deladerrière
Paul Maheke, "The Spectral Forest", Nida Art Colony, Nida, Lituania, August - November 2020
© Ansis Starks
Paul Maheke, "La Pleine Lune Dort La Nuit", Musée d’art contemporain de la Haute Vienne, Rochechouart, France, February - September 2020
Paul Maheke, "HERE AND NOW - Transcorporealities" Museum Ludwig, Köln, Germany, 2019
© Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln / Nina Siefke.
Paul Maheke, "OOLOI", Triangle France - Astérides, Friche la Belle de Mai, Marseille, 2019
© Aurélien Mole
Paul Maheke, "Levant", Ludlow 38, New York, USA, 2019
© Carter Seddon / Goethe-Institut, New York
Paul Maheke, "21e Prix Fondation d’entreprise Ricard : Le fil d’alerte", Fondation d'entreprise Ricard, Paris, France, 2019
© Aurélien Mole / Fondation d’entreprise Ricard
Paul Maheke, "Seeking After the Fully Grown Dancer deep within", Performance part of Meetings on Art, 58th Venice Biennale, 2019.
© Riccardo Banfi / Courtesy Delfina Foundation and Arts Council England.
Paul Maheke, "A fire circle for a public hearing", Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art, Netherlands, 2019
© Gunnar Meier.
Paul Maheke, «Diable Blanc», Galerie Sultana, Paris, France, 2019
© Aurélien mole.
Paul Maheke, "Dans l’éther, là, ou l’eau", "À Cris Ouverts" - 6th édition des Ateliers de Rennes - biennale d’art contemporain, Rennes, France, 2018
© Aurélien Mole.
Paul Maheke, "Letter to a Barn Owl", Kevin Space, Vienna, Austria, 2018
© Maximilian Anelli-Monti.
Paul Maheke, "Give Up the Ghost: Baltic Triennial 13, Lithuania, 2018
Paul Maheke, "Le centre ne peut tenir", Lafayette Anticipations – Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette, Paris, France, 2018
Produced and commissioned by Lafayette Anticipations, Paris.
©Pierre Antoine - ©ADAGP
Paul Maheke, "The Distance is Nowhere", Manifesta, Palermo, Italia, 2018
© Paul Maheke, Sophie Mallett, Stella Sideli, GAM Palermo and Overalls Adv.
Paul Maheke, "Familiar familial place of confusion (channel)", Performance in collaboration with Simon and Alix Maheke, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, 2018
© Hervé Veronese
Paul Maheke, "A fire circle for a public hearing", Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK, 2018
Produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London. Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery and Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art, Middelburg.
© Mark Blower
Paul Maheke, "Habits of care", Blackwood Gallery, Toronto, Canada, 2017
© Henry Chan / © Toni Hafkenscheid
Paul Maheke, «Acqua Alta», Galerie Sultana, Paris, France, 2017
Paul Maheke, "The dance floor could never be a story with one voice. The dance floor is packed with stories all pulsating with their own experiences and needs», DRAF, 2017
© Tim Bowditch
Paul Maheke, "Mbu", as part of BMW Live Exhibition: Ten Days Six Nights, Tate Modern, 2017
© Tate 2017, image: Brotherton-Lock.
Paul Maheke, "In the Watery Core of those Stories", as part of the Diaspora Pavilion, Venice, Italia, 2017
Courtesy of ICF, Galerie Sultana and the artist
© Francesco Allegretto and Paul Maheke
Paul Maheke, "What Flows Through and Across", Assembly Point, London, United Kingdom, 2017
Paul Maheke, "In Me Everything is Already Flowing", Center, Berlin, Germany, 2016
Paul Maheke, "I Lost Track of the Swarm", South London Gallery, London, UK, 2016
The Mauve Hour, Sultana Summer Set Arles
Art Basel Miami Beach. Miami Beach, USA
Frieze London 2021. London, United Kingdom
FIAC 2021. Paris, France
Liste Art Fair 2023. Basel, Swistzerland
Paris+ by Art Basel. Paris, France
Paul Maheke (b.1985, Brive-la-Gaillarde) lives and works in London. In 2011 he completed an MA in Art Practice at l’École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy and in 2015 a program of study at Open School East, London. Maheke was awarded the South London Gallery Graduate Residency 2015-16. He is awarded for the PACT Zollverein Guest Fellowships 2020 and selected for the Future Generation Art Prize 2021 at Pinchuk Centre, Kiev.
His recent projects include : 'We took a sip from the devils cup', Project Art Centre, Dublin (2022); 'You and I', Kunstalle, Bratislava, Slovaquie (2022); 'British Art Show 9', curated by Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar (2021); Songs to the Sun, Cabaret Voltaire x Monte Verità, Zurich (2021). The Mauve Hour at Sultana Summer Set, Arles(2021). Vanille Bleue at Goodman Gallery, Johanesburg (2021). Clinique du Queer, Maison Pop, Montreuil (2020); Critstal Clear, Pera Museum, Istanbul (2020) ; YESN’T, Galerie Sultana, Paris (2020) ; The Spectral Forest, Nida Art Colony, Lithuania ; Possédé.e.s, MOCO - Montpellier (2020) ; La Pleine Lune Dort La Nuit, MAC Haute Vienne - Rochecouart (2020) ; Prix Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, Paris, Performa 19, Abrons Art Center, New York and ‘Elements of Vogue!’, Chopo Museum, Mexico City, ‘OOLOI', Triangle France-Astérides, Marseille, 'The Distance is Nowhere' (in collab. with Sophie Mallett), ICA Miami, Miami (2019), ‘Sènsa', (in collab. with Nkisi), Blockuniverse, London, (2019), Diable Blanc, Galeries Sultana (2019), Meetings on Art, performance art program at 58th Venice Biennale, 'A Fire Circle for a Public Hearing', Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art, (2019 solo) ‘Letter to a Barn Owl’, Kevin Space, Vienna (2018, solo); ‘A cris ouverts’, Biennale de Rennes (2018). ‘Give Up the Ghost’, Baltic Triennial 13, Tallinn (2018); ‘Le centre ne peut tenir', Lafayette Anticipations, Paris (2018); ‘Move’, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2018); ‘A fire circle for a public hearing’, Chisenhale Gallery, London (2018, solo show); 'Elements of Vogue', CA2M, Madrid (2017).