DESCENT is an exhibition in three parts, each lasting three weeks, that began in November 2019 with I. People Come & Go, followed by II. Cul-de-Sac, concluding with III. Man Dog, opening 15 February and running until 7 March 2020.
The structure of the exhibition has presented an overarching narrative split across time and space, creating contextual shifts and associations between each constituent part. It has included sculpture, performance, installation, video and archival material.
People Come & Go was an immersive installation based on an interior section of a men-only cruise club, a matrix designed for gaymen. Sahib produced a 1:1 replica of a tunnel within the club at times which was inhabited by a figure that appeared to beunconscious. It re-staged a parallel view outside of the space itself in the dissociative context of a gallery as a means of exploring ideas around exclusion, shame and death.
The second part, Cul-de-Sac, extended Sahib’s framing of specific architectural structures to that of the residential street, with itsorganisation of houses, communities and lives. A drone-shot video, moving up and down, then high above the street Sahib grew up in Southall, a suburb of West London, was shown with a collection of archival material belonging to his uncle who worked in communityoutreach with South Asian youth from the 1970s to ‘90s, offering an expansion on the history of the area through an individual’s activism.
Man Dog is an object response to the earlier exhibitions embodying ideas raised throughout the show, such as inclusion and exclusion within spaces and the role of social structures in shaping identities. Moving from the club to the residential street and then an interior space, Sahib explores the communal and domestic through new sculpture, installation and audio work that contrast feelings ofalienation, comfort and entrapment. Three still-life arrangements placed on newspaper line the gallery floor, reminiscent of pet beds orbaskets where belongings are stored. Beneficiary, a work comprised of eight identical legs with feet in uniform white trainers, is partially visible behind a wall, pointing to a tribal alliance as well as a homogenous social body. A black mirror sculpture entitled Man Dog, madefrom obsidian and converted in to a speaker, intermittently plays material recorded by Sahib of offensive and racist hate-speech they experienced in an online chat room. Descent, a blood-red resin-painted panel harks to the title of the exhibition and its connection to lineage, passage through time and perspectives.
Prem Sahib was born in London in 1982 and lives and works in London.
His work is included in the current exhibitions The Hoodie, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, BREATHLESS / SENZA RESPIRO, London Art Now, Ca’Pesaro Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna, Venice, Modern Nature, La Becque, La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland, Queer Abstraction, The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas, USA, touring from Des Moines Art Centre, Iowa, USA, (2019). Recent projects include a performance as part of Cruising Pompeii within Volcano Extravaganza 2019 – DEATH, curated by Milovan Farronato, Fiorucci Art Trust, Pompeii, Italy, and public commissions within Walk & Talk, The Azores, Portugal (2019).
Solo exhibitions and presentations include 500 Sq.Ft., Art Night, curated by Ralph Rugoff, Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2018); Heron, Mendes Wood DM, Brussels, Belgium, Balconies, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany, (2017); Cruising the House, Inclusartiz Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, GRAND UNION, Grand Union, Birmingham, (2016); Side On, ICA, London, END UP, Southard Reid, London (2015); presentation of work and event within Forget Amnesia, Fiorucci Art Trust, Stromboli, Italy, Tongues, Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai (2014); Night Flies, Southard Reid, London, Back Chat, Lorcan O’Neill Gallery, Rome (2013); Home From Home, Arts & Jobs curated by Sarah McCrory, London, FEEL UP in collaboration with Eddie Peake, Southard Reid, London, (2012).
Selected group exhibitions include United by AIDS : An Exhibition about Loss, Remembrance, Activism and Art in Response to HIV/ AIDS, Migros Museum, Zurich, Switzerland, Queer Spaces: London 1980s - Today, Whitechapel Gallery, London, Machismo, Villa Lontana, Rome, Cruising Pavilion, 16th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2018); Markers, David Zwirner, London, ISelf Collection: Self-Portrait as the Billy Goat, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2017); CRUISING, Curated by Elise Lammer, SALTS, Birsfelden, Switzerland, Secret Surface, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany, Thinking Tantra, Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai, India (2016); Sensorium, Sunaparanta, Goa Centre for the Arts, India, fig-2 25/50 in collaboration with Celia Hempton and Cecilia Bengolea, ICA Studio, London, UK, Britain Can Make It, Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2015); Burning Down The House, Gwangju Biennale, Korea, LISTENING, Hayward Touring Contemporary Open, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle, UK, Do Not Disturb, At the Invitation of Elmgreen & Dragset, Gerhardsen Gerner, Oslo, Norway (2014).
Two works by Sahib, Do You Care? We do and Helix, were acquired by Tate Galleries in 2018. His work is also included in the Government Art Collection, UK, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway, MONA, Tasmania, Australia, and private foundations including The Perimeter, Fiorucci Art Trust and DRAF London.