Born of a Christian mother and Muslim father, Brussels-based French-Moroccan artist Mehdi-Georges Lahlou learned early on the value of relativism. The theme of crossing boundaries set by culture, religion and gender is present in all of his installations and performances. While his works appears at first sight political, for instance tackling Orientalism and gender issues in Islam, it is important to the artist that it be viewed first and foremost as an open, poetic autobiographical gesture to be judged on art's own terms.
The artist draws not only on the history of performance and installation-art, but also incorporates references to Belgian Surrealism in his works. In Lahlou's art we find humor, poetics, guts, dedication, refined artistic intuition, personal risk taking and social relevance.
For his one-man show at Kunstraum Richard Sorge, in Berlin, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou will present his performance/installation/restaurant "Dar_Koom" and the large scale installation "Cocktail, Self-portrait in Society" and more recent works.
"My work is, for a great part, autobiographical. I am one of the major subjects of my own work, I'm at the crossroads of two cultures, an western one coming from my Spanish mother and a Muslim one from my father, living in Morocco. My work also aims at finding impossible connections between the two, trying to position myself, to acquire certain knowledge, to create new nostalgias - if that's possible. So clearly, I'm using symbols that are dear to me, which were given to me, sometimes slightly imposed on me, but I was never forced to do anything. You cannot force someone in Islam, although you might want to sometimes. The Muslim aesthetic is something which really strikes me, which I chose and I try to mix with the Western one. This is how you really get to see how the West and the East co-exist."
Kunstraum Richard Sorge, Landsberger Allee 54, 10249 Berlin.
Exhibition duration: Sept. 17th - Oct. 10th 2010, Wednesday - Saturday, 2 - 6 pm.
Opening reception: Sept. 16th, 7 pm.
Closing reception: Oct. 10th , 7 pm.
Special performance during the opening reception at Sept.16th.
"Dar_Koom" one-on-one performances (10 min. each) on Sept.17 th & 18 th from 3 - 6 pm.