DAK’ART 2014

11ème Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain 09/05>08/06

Mehdi-Georges Lahlou

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72 (virgins) on the sun : sculpture /installation, mixed media, variable dimensions, 2014, © Mehdi-Georges Lahlou.

72 (virgins) on the sun is a critical, derisive, and distant work. At first, “72 virgins” is the title that the artist gave to his work, made up of 72 busts of the artist wearing a white veil. At the Lynden Sculpture Garden, Milwaukee, USA (2013), the artist produced a new version, 72 (virgins) in the wind, constituted of 72 flag poles flying 72 white veils just the same as flags float in the wind. For Dakar, he recalls this same memory, but under the sun.
For each heaven, there is a promise: the promise to the martyr’s heaven, according to Muslim tradition, is a promise of 72 houris—beings of which we know very little apart from the fact that they (perhaps either female or male) are not human.
In this sculptural installation, the artist showcases the strangeness of certain religious beliefs. Fantasies, passed-on through the ages, are kept alive in the imaginary, as if sustained by an I.V. drip. Such fantasies perpetuate images as archaic as the idea of possessing other beings. Would possessing 72 other creatures be a dream or a nightmare? The artist’s answer un-ambiguous, his critical charge is direct and offers no concession.
The work is, like every creation of Mehdi Georges Lahlou, initially attractive, seductive, and almost beautiful. It possesses a certain beauty of that which is bad, something that the artist has been studying for many years. Once taken in, the artist invites us to wake up and resist the call of the sirens of fanaticism.

Mehdi -Georges Lahlou, Franco-Moroccan artist, was born in Les Sables d’Olonne (France) in 1983. He lives and works between Brussels (where he is artist in residence at the Maison d’ Art Actuel des Chartreux), Paris and New York. Trained at the Regional School of Fine Arts in Nantes ( ERBAN ), he obtained his DNSEP in 2007 and an MFA in Sint- Joost Academy in Breda (NL). He is currently part of the program ’s directors (post- diploma in Art and Enterprise), conceived and directed by artist Fabrice Hyber in partnership with the Audencia Nantes School of Management and the School of Fine Arts in Nantes Métropole ( France). Spanish and Moroccan, father Christian and Muslim mother, Mehdi -Georges Lahlou makes ambiguous collages to question the identity in all its forms.
His works have been the subject of several solo exhibitions: the Catherine Ahnell Gallery, New York (2014 USA), the Transit Gallery, Mechelen ( BE 2010 and 2013 ), the Paradise gallery, Nantes (FR ), Dix9 gallery, Paris ( FR 2010 and 2012 ), the art center Croxhapox, Ghent (BE), Kunstraum Richard Sorge, Berlin (2010, DE), the Espacepointca gallery, Alma (2011, QC) .
His work has been featured in numerous international exhibitions such as the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris (2012, FR) for the exhibition ’ The body discovered ’ at Palazzo Bembo, Venice (2013, IT) during ’Personal structures ’ (collateral event of the Biennale), at the Biennial Re - Orientation , the second Mediterranean Biennial of Israel, Sakhnin (2013, IL), at "Sint -Jan" at St. Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent ( 2012 BE) invited by Jan Hoet and Hans Martens.
Two personal exhibitions are forthcoming to CENTRAL for contemporary art and Jewish Museum of Belgium, Brussels (BE), in the Summer of Photography 2014 organized by the Contemporary Art Bozar Centre ( Brussels, BE) .
Mehdi-Georges Lahlou is represented by the Transit Gallery (Mechelen) in Belgium and the Dix9 Gallery - Helen Lacharmoise (Paris) in France.

View online : www.mehdigeorgeslahlou.com