I Put a Spell on You

Tai Shani

‘Astrolatrous Communes III’, 2022. Bas relief, MDF, Jesmonite, flock, paint

‘Unresurrectable Biologies – Un-undead 1 + 2,’ 2022. Epoxy, glass, 3D prints, mohair, sheepskin, electrics

Tai Shani’s practice encompasses performance, film and installation. Taking inspiration from forgotten histories, she explores capitalism, patriarchy and feminism as she creates dark, fantastical worlds brimming with Utopian potential.

In ‘I Put a Spell on You’, Tai Shani’s witches are trapped inside the lightbulbs of a contorted candelabra, where we imagine them muttering spells that will bring down the patriarchy. Her witches are inspired by women from the Italian island of Alicudi whose poverty-stricken residents lived off a diet of ergot (a fungus which infects crops and turns them into hallucinogens) contaminated bread, causing them to exist in a constant visionary state. Out of these hallucinations grew tales of flying women – the Maiara – who flew off to mainland Italy to steal food to feed their starving families. Like all the ‘witches’ in this exhibition, “they possess no earthly authority but through magic they are the righter of wrongs” and as such, are figures of resistance and revolution.

Recent exhibitions include ‘Your Arms Outstretched Above Your Head, Coding With The Angels’, Gathering, London (2022); ‘The Neon Hieroglyph’, Manchester lnternational Festival (2021); ‘Dark Continent: Psy Chic Anem One’, Athens Biennale (2018) and Glasgow International (2018). Tai Shani was a joint winner of the 2019 Turner Prize.