As he grew up in a multicultural environment, with a Muslim and a Christian parent, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou experienced our multicultural and multiform society in daily life. Always working in a light-hearted and intelligent way, he breaks through barriers of religion and culture to question aesthetics, in particular those imposed by Islam. Through his performances or installations, he poses crucial questions involving identity (religious, cultural or sexual).
This coherent series of work disturbs clichés and plays with the ambiguity present in aesthetics. In his work the body is always present. The figure of the artist is hidden and present at the same time.
For his first solo exhibition in France, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou keeps on his singular approach and presents at Galerie Dix9 sculptures, photos, videos, all of them referring to that ambiguity.
Breaking through stereotypes, the artist transforms his body as he subverts traditions. He knows, through juxtaposition, how to walk a fine line in order to disturb formal and established conventions. He uses feminine attributes (high heel shoes, lipstick, veil) but keeps his masculine appearance (bear, sex, muscles). His disguise is partial and thus disturbs the norms for gender, social and sexual definition. It is not a question with Mehdi-Georges Lahlou of any “choc des cultures”; for him, all culture is confining. To quit one means entering another.
This may explain a certain predilection for boxes in his work, which symbolize limits and confinement. There is the box of the restaurant in “Dar Loom”, or the one of the Qaabah in “Home sweet home”. But as well there are the framed photos or the videos screens, which also represent boxes themselves.
The artist’s visual work always deals with questions of idiocy. To be an idiot, or a kind of pawn, is a way to fight with coherence and freedom against the seriousness of any system. The videos are aptly named ‘controlled stupidities”.
Going beyond the borders towards absurdity, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou always keeps a kind of “chic” in his ridiculous postures. Mixing the power and humor of the idiot, he forges a path towards the marvellous.