Exhibition Paul Maheke: Levant

Paul Maheke: Levant © Pierre Antoine © Pierre Antoine

Thu-Sun, 1:00-6:00pm

Ludlow 38

38 Ludlow Street
New York, NY 10002

Paul Maheke in collaboration with Ligia Lewis and Nkisi, Levant. Installation view from Le centre ne peut tenir, 2018

Opening: November 13, 6pm, with a live set by Nkisi

Levant is an installation by French artist and choreographer Paul Maheke incorporating a video made in collaboration with dancer and choreographer Ligia Lewis and experimental musician Melika Ngombe Kolongo, aka Nkisi. The three practitioners have come together around their shared desire to challenge the field of representation. They propose new, more abstract visual, sonic, and spatial forms by reconsidering their histories through non-human or invisible subjectivities and corporalities.

Focusing on what is left untold, unseen, and absent, Maheke is specifically interested in embodied memories and knowledge. Translucence and a blurring of the field of vision are at the heart of this work, which oscillates between visibility and erasure. Concise repetitive gestures and sounds, mumbled words akin to spells being cast, ambiguous objects, spectral shadows, and long echoes serve as strategies to build a poetic and penetrating space. The video focuses in particular on a sequence of movements performed by Ligia Lewis to the rhythm of a soundtrack composed by Nkisi.

The soundtrack to Levant will be performed live by Nkisi (NON Worldwide) during the opening at Ludlow 38 on November 13.

Levant is presented in dialogue with Sènsa, a new live performance by Maheke and Nkisi, commissioned by Performa for the Performa 19 Biennial. Through sound, light, and movement, Sènsa brings to the fore diasporic geographies, displacement of knowledge, and questions of visibility and invisibility of marginalized voices in Western-dominated history.

Paul Maheke (b. 1985) graduated from Cergy School of Fine Arts and is an Open School East (London) alum. Recent solo exhibitions and performances include Sènsa (in collaboration with Nkisi), Performa Biennale 2019, New York; A Fire Circle for a Public Hearing at the Chisenhale gallery in London (2018) and Vleeshal Middelburg (2019); and I Lost Track of the Swarm at the South London Gallery (2016). Selected group exhibitions include Le centre ne peut tenir at Lafayette Anticipations in Paris (2018), Ten Days Six Nights at Tate Modern in London (2017), and the Diaspora Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017).

Melika Ngombe Kolongo, aka Nkisi (b. 1985) is a headliner on the European experimental music circuit. Born in Kinshasa, Nkisi grew up in Belgium and studied at Narafi Arts Schools in Brussels and Birkbeck University in London. Over the years, Nkisi has championed exploring music and sound within a decolonial context. A recent example is Nkisi’s night of concerts and DJ sets titled Same Same Night II that she organized at Kunstencentrum Vooruit in Gent as part of the art center’s program Same Same but Different, a festival that examined Belgium’s history and its contemporary inscription within a global postcolonial network. Nkisi’s debut EP, Kill (2017), received critical acclaim from Pitchfork, Tiny Mixtapes, and FACT. Her latest solo album, 7 Directions, was released in January 2019.

Ligia Lewis (b. 1983) is a dancer and choreographer. She has worked in multiple contexts including that of the theatre and museum. Engaging with affect, empathy, and the sensate, her choreography considers the social inscriptions of the body while evoking its potentiality. Her work can be described as experientially rich and complex. Within her practice, Lewis continues to provoke the nuances of embodiment. In 2017, Lewis was awarded a Bessie for Outstanding Production for her latest stage work, minor matter, and in 2018, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award in the field of dance. Both of her stage works, minor matter (2016) and Sorrow Swag (2014), continue to tour internationally. Her latest stage work, Water Will (2018), was presented by Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement (Geneva), HAU Hebbel-am-Ufer (Berlin), and Performance Space New York, among others.