First solo show by Nils Alix-Tabeling in Poland. The exhibition takes its title from the new work Together at Last! … Pierrot & Harlequin, in a rural fantasy. It was produced for and with the support of LISTE Art Fair Basel 2020. Due to the pandemic and in discussion with the artist, it has been decided to first show the work in Piktogram, in order to put it in relation to other recent sculptural works by Nils Alix-Tabeling.
Together at Last! … Pierrot & Harlequin, in a rural fantasy. is a sculptural group constituted of a chariot/plow driven by Harlequin and Pierrot, and pulled by a herd of humanoid cats. The sculpture references neoclassical bronze sculptures of horse-drawn chariots that typically adorn important buildings across Europe, suggesting power and the expansion of empire. Here the artist, using a camp aesthetic language, seeks to talk instead about an alternative history of homosexuality and paganism.
Also on display are the works: Corps Humain à la Botte and Corps Humain à l'Éventail, freely inspired by the famous monument by Vera Moukhina (Worker and Kolkhoz Woman, 1937) representing a worker holding a hammer, and a farmer holding a sickle, symbolising the nobility and power of the working class. But here these utilitarian items are replaced by a profusion of symbols associated with frivolity, perversion and pleasure (the fan, the leather boot, the rose, the tutu). The materials are inexpensive and associated with labour: iron wool to clean wooden floor, plastic sheets for painters, butcher gloves made of steel, and tin for roofing: here they are rendered camp and couture through craftsmanship and care. The movement of the fan is nonchalant, the second sculpture offers a rose with many limp hands, a direct reference to visual archetypes of queerness. The leisure and pleasure being performed has a decadent excessive quality, themes and traits usually connected to the aristocracy and the leisure classes, but here these sculptures depict a working class downing tools and reclaiming their own bodies and their own pleasure.