Paul Maheke, A fire circle for a public hearing (2018). Installation view, Chisenhale Gallery, 2018. Produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London. Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery and Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art, Middelburg. Photo: Mark Blower.

This will be the First US Presentation of the Performance and Maheke’s First Public Performance in New York City

High Line Art announces A fire circle for a public hearing, a performance by artist Paul Maheke. The High Line’s presentation will be the first time this compelling performance will be shown in North America, finding new resonances in the unique public space as three performers explore the body as a historical archive. Performances of A fire circle for a public hearing will take place on the High Line at 14th Street starting at 7pm on June 28, 29, and 30, 2022. A fire circle for a public hearing is organized by Melanie Kress, High Line Art Associate Curator.

Paul Maheke is an artist working in performance, video, sculpture, and installation. His performances are predominantly based in dance and movement, often accompanied by poetic voice-overs or scripts; they explore the ways that bodies can act as archives of history and personal experience.

A fire circle for a public hearing develops Maheke’s ongoing engagement with the potential of the body as an archive; the performance addresses how history, memory, and identity are formed. In the work, three performers (Morgan “Emme” Bryant, Lucy Hollier, and Rafaelle Kennibol-Cox) channel different characters as if possessed by ghostly entities. Their movements and dialogue explore hypervisibility and erasure as they play out in historical marginalization and contemporary political movements.

On the High Line in the 14th Street Passage, the work is performed outdoors for the first time, opening up the experience to passersby and dedicated audiences alike. As with many of his works, Maheke invites performers to activate the unique architecture of the space, merging together props, costumes, and the set. His choreography blends movement references drawn from pop culture, postmodern art history, and contemporary music, drawing the viewer through the passageway with layers of movement, speech, and music.

“Paul Maheke is a captivating choreographer whose work to date has been predominantly seen by audiences in Europe; it is very exciting to bring this performance to New York City—and to North America—for the first time,” said Melanie Kress, High Line Art Associate Curator. “Paul’s work asks important questions about what it means to be a body on stage, and how a single person is able to hold many shared and overlapping histories in a single gesture. He encourages us to think about what is seen and what is not seen, both in the performance of a single person, but also in our wider cultures and histories at large.”

A fire circle for a public hearing was commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery, London, England and Vleeshal Centre for Contemporary Art, Middelburg, Netherlands.

The performances are free and open to the public; visitors are encouraged to RSVP online. The work is approximately 45 minutes long. The nearest entrances to the High Line for the performance are located at Gansevoort Street and at 14th Street. The nearest elevator is located at 14th Street near 10th Avenue.

All persons with disabilities are encouraged to attend. To request additional information regarding accessibility or accommodations at a program, please contact Constanza Valenzuela (constanza.valenzuela@thehighline.org) at least five days in advance of the event. Program venues are accessible via wheelchair, and ASL interpretation can be arranged for the performance on Wednesday, June 28, 2022. The rain date for ASL interpretation is Thursday, June 29, 2022.

ABOUT THE ARTIST
Paul Maheke (b. 1985, Brive-la-Gaillarde, France) lives and works in Montpelier, France. His work has been shown in solo presentations at The Renaissance Society, Chicago, Illinois (2021); Collection Pinault, Paris, France (2021); and South London Art Gallery, London, England (2016). He has participated in group exhibitions and festivals at institutions including ICA Miami, Florida (2019); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2018); Tate Modern, London, England (2017); and Serpentine Galleries, London, England (2016). He has been featured in major international exhibitions including Glasgow International, Scotland (2021); 58th Venice Biennale, Italy (2019); Baltic Triennial 13, Estonia (2019); and Manifesta 12, Palermo, Italy (2018).

ABOUT HIGH LINE ART
Founded in 2009, High Line Art commissions and produces a wide array of artworks on the High Line, including site-specific commissions, exhibitions, performances, video programs, and a series of billboard interventions. Led by Cecilia Alemani, the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator of High Line Art, and presented by the High Line, the art program invites artists to think of creative ways to engage with the unique architecture, history, and design of the park, and to foster a productive dialogue with the surrounding neighborhood and urban landscape. For more information on High Line Art, please visit thehighline.org/art.

ABOUT THE HIGH LINE
The High Line is both a nonprofit organization and a public park on the West Side of Manhattan. Through our work with communities on and off the High Line, we’re devoted to reimagining public spaces to create connected, healthy neighborhoods and cities.

Built on a historic, elevated rail line, the High Line was always intended to be more than a park. You can walk through the gardens, view art, experience a performance, enjoy food or beverage, or connect with friends and neighbors—all while enjoying a unique perspective of New York City.

Nearly 100% of our annual budget comes through donations. The High Line is owned by the City of New York and we operate under a license agreement with NYC Parks.

For more information, visit thehighline.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

SUPPORT
Lead support for High Line Art comes from Amanda and Don Mullen. Major support for High Line Art is provided by Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons, The Brown Foundation, Inc., and Charina Endowment Fund. Project support is provided by Charlotte Feng Ford and Vivian and James Zelter. Additional support is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council.

@HighLineArtNYC @paulmaheke #Afirecircleforapublichearing