MOSTYN is thrilled to present the first UK institutional solo exhibition by Tarek Lakhrissi.
This new commission consists of existing and new work comprising film, sculpture and text presented as an installation across the gallery spaces. Rooted in poetry, Lakhrissi’s practice seeks to challenge contemporary constructs of language and narratives around minoritised communities.
Taking the 2003 song ‘My Immortal’ by American pop group Evanescence as its title, the exhibition reflects upon the notion of community, particularly a queer community which it considers as a complex, fragile and ephemeral entity. On the one hand it can offer possibilities of love, empowerment and protection but also nightmares and fears. English poet John Milton’s 17th-century poem ‘Paradise Lost’ serves as an illustration of the tension played out in the exhibition; whilst the possibility of a community offers paradisiacal solace, it can also be easily lost through its fragilities.
The exhibition starts with a film The Art of Losing (2021) which shows two figures in a loving embrace, setting the scene for the rest of the installation. Reflective metal plaques, each inscribed with new poems about desire, loss and personal mythologies written by Lakhrissi, act as totems for different members of his close community. The permanence of the metallic media counter the ephemerality and fragility of communal love addressed in the works themselves.
This tension is further heightened by two new works and an existing installation, presented in dialogue in the two final gallery spaces. The first, a new sculpture formed of two metallic angel wings, Gay Wing I and Gay Wing II (2021), pays homage to the Greek myth of Icarus who fell to his death as his wings dissolved when approaching the sun.
This ‘non-monument’ foregrounds an existing installation Unfinished Sentence (2019). Metallic spears, peppered across the gallery ceiling form a cosmic constellation that references French feminist writer and activist Monique Wittig’s seminal book Les Guérillères (1969), a fictional novel describing an army of female warriors that form an insurrection against men. The metallic works are bathed in a purple light that references both the militant feminist movement that Wittig was a part of, as well as Lavender Menace – a lesbian feminist collective founded in New York in 1970s. These historical feminist literary and militant figures are put into dialogue with contemporary popular culture through a sound work which permeates the gallery spaces. Composed by artist and close collaborator Ndayé Kouagou, this sound piece borrows from the theme tunes of the 90s TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xena: Warrior Princess to form an abstracted, threatening and contemplative sonic landscape. The exhibition becomes a battleground, a metaphor for notions of defence and self-defence and, in so doing, a symbol of love and transformative narratives.
So in the midst of despair, I have come to believe that love – the feeling of love, the politics of love, the ethics and ideology and embodiment of love – is the only good option in this time of the apocalypse.
Kai Cheng Thom - I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl's Notes from the End of the World
Tarek Lakhrissi is a visual artist and a poet based in Paris (FR) and Brussels (BE). He currently teaches at CCC Research Master Program of the Visual Arts Department at HEAD (Geneva School of Art and Design). Lakhrissi has been exhibited internationally at galleries and institutions including: Museum of Contemporary Art, Biennale of Sydney (2020); Wiels, Brussels (2020); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2020); Palazzo Re Rebaudengo/Sandretto, Guarene/Torino (2020); Quadriennale di Roma, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome (2020); High Art, Paris (2020); Hayward Gallery, London (2019); Auto Italia South East, London (2019); Grand Palais, FIAC, Paris (2019); Fondation Lafayette Anticipations, Paris (2019); L’Espace Arlaud, Lausanne (2019); Zabriskie, Geneva (2019); Fondation Gulbenkian, Paris (2018); CRAC Alsace, Altkirch, France (2019); Kim?, Riga (2018); Artexte, Montreal (2017); Gaité Lyrique, Paris (2017); SMC/CAC, Vilnius (2017). He is represented by VITRINE Gallery (London - Basel) and is shortlisted for the 22nd Fondation Pernod Ricard Prize (2020-2021).