The De La Warr Pavilion extend our biggest congratulations to Tai Shani for making the 2019 Turner Prize shortlist.
Shani’s artistic contribution to our spring exhibition, Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance, Act 2 and her continued support of our extended programme of events have been invaluable in the exhibition’s success. The Pavilion is thrilled to once again have the privilege of bringing Turner Prize-nominated work to our visitors.
From Turner Contemporary’s shortlist announcement:
For her participation in Glasgow International 2018, solo exhibition DC: Semiramis at The Tetley, Leeds and participation in Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance at Nottingham Contemporary and the De Le Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea. The jury noted the compelling nature of Shani’s ongoing project Dark Continent, particularly the work’s ability to combine historical texts with contemporary references and issues.
Developed over four years, it takes inspiration from a 15th-century feminist text, Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies. Shani uses theatrical installations, performances and films to create her own allegorical city of women populated by fantastical characters, transporting the viewer to another time and place.
Co-curator of Still I Rise, Cédric Fauq, on why Shani’s work was included in the exhibition: “Tai Shani’s work has that potency to shift the aesthetic vocabulary often attached to contemporary feminist practices. Not only her work appeals to the eyes, but it also has that haptic quality, it makes you want to touch. What I find particularly compelling is how this better leads you to focus on the stories she is telling. More than a realm, Tai’s body of work creates a whole cosmos. One where white patriarchy got swallowed by a black hole.”
DLWP visitors can see Shani’s works for free in our Ground floor gallery until May 27 when the exhibition closes. Her works are:
“These are models for a structured, tragic play about my family.
These are sites for myth making and the collapse of myth into prosaic materials both natural and synthetic.
These are her bodily remains.
These are cryptic; they are spell books, to be read literally but with profound belief.
These are maquettes for never closing, hedonistic nightclubs, where we can lose our minds.
These are a symbolic portrait of a time-travelling mystic. These are an aerial drone view of archaeological sites of unknown civilisations, from the very far past of the very far future.
These are dwellings for my cat Oedipuss.
These are a faery corpse.
These are a medieval vision of the soul as resembling a castle, formed of a single diamond or a very transparent crystal, and containing many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions.
These are airports for extra-terrestrials my parent’s sibling said when they saw them.
These are portraits for ghosts to come into our world, they can be summoned here.”
Dark Continent (Phantasmagoregasm), 2018
“Phantasmagoregasm is an 18th-century hermaphrodite writer of Gothic fiction. Many of the early Victorian prominent gothic writers were women that wrote under their own names, or under psychonyms, arguably establishing the horror genre. That character that appears in this exhibition is one of twelve from my Dark Continent project. They are interpretations of women that, at different points in history, had access to a public life and selfrealisation under supernatural and mystical terms.”
Plan your visit to the DLWP on our website.
Read about the other 2019 Turner Prize nominees here.