Public Gallery, London
Public Gallery presents a solo presentation by the French artist Nils Alix-Tabeling (b. 1991). Alix-Tabeling creates multimedia performances and installations with painting, sculpture, sound and film. He works with elements from science fiction, fashion, historical objects and furniture, shamanism and drag. His works exist on the border between fiction and reality, questioning images of the body and creating new physical possibilities by blurring the boundary between objects and living bodies, between humans and animals.
At Art-o-rama, Alix-Tabeling presents a new series of free-standing sculptures alongside paintings in oil and gouache that build upon his solo exhibitions at Parvis Scène Nationale Tarbes Pyrénées and Dortmunder Kunstverein (both 2023). The booth takes the form of a gothic séance, in the center three anthropomorphic candelabras stand tall like priestesses overseeing a ceremony. Composed of steel and adorned with countless elements referencing herbalist and occult traditions – including silk poultice bags, crystal lava lamps and goat tripes filled with pearls – the sculptures are set upon a chamomile scented felt carpet containing harvested plants that covers the floor. The accompanying paintings are envisaged as batteries to power the ritual. They reveal surreal images – including displaced brains, sexualised demons and erotic converger with the natural world – which offer coded references to persecuted activists such as Ulrike Meinhof, leader of the Red Army Faction, a far-left German radical group (1960-1970).
Symbolically summoning the spirits of past political activists, often queer or female, who negated patriarchal or fascist narratives, Alix-Tabeling’s presentation celebrates medicinal plants, animals, minerals, the cycles of nature and the forces of life; while simultaneously enacting a radical activist ritual in which performative gestures including herbal concoctions as well as violent, erotic and fantastical images combine to explore ideas around ecology, body politics, and sexual freedom.