No Native Narrative

A LEYered Perspective, by Moley Talhaoui

No Native Narrative, a LEYered perspective, is an exhibition coincidentally timed to open as the artist has pressed pause on painting for little while. It is an examination of a painting practice less concerned with production than with personal fulfillment. Among the strongest influences in Stockholm-based Moley Talhaoui’s paintings, his upbringing in Sweden, Moroccan heritage, relationships, and becoming a father, lend an intrinsically autobiographical sensibility to his paintings, which brim with personal and cultural symbolism. His paintings are layered explorations of personal and spiritual existence, from the esoteric to the everyday. They are a way to try to comprehend a sense of being in the world, the eternal dialectic of happiness and suffering, the nature of love, the definition of wealth, and how personal history or memory informs the present and future.

No Native Narrative presents a selection of recent paintings and drawings the artist has made over the past several years, and will be on view through August 2.

― Kate Mothes

Sensithief, 2020, Oil on canvas, 200 x 150 cm / 78.75 x 59 in

One would maybe explain “spirit” in isolation, as something like water. Water can be still or assume a shape, but in reality it has only adapted for the moment. As soon as its surroundings change, the water follows. That is maybe how I see the spirit, in some sense. It’s impossible to fully conceptualize or grasp, but clearly playful and generous. 

― Moley Talhaoui

Clockwise from top: E-Class, 2016, Graphite on A4 paper; Fathere and forever, 2012/13, Graphite on A4 paper, A4; Blomma, 2016, Graphite on A4 paper.

I’ve just ended a recent dramatic relationship with my prior work, fully drained myself, and in front of me is now a new rollercoaster of, “Why am I doing this? And what’s the whole purpose of the continuation of this--maybe meaningless--pursuit?” That’s the intro. I’m constantly in conflict with the why and what and the whatever of all of this.

― Moley Talhaoui

Genesistears, 2020, Oil on canvas, 200 x 150 cm / 78.75 x 59 in

For me, creating was fundamentally about escapism and comfort. As a child, in order to cope with my environment, I drew. It made me shut out my surroundings, and I managed to reach a space of safety within. In order to manage chaos, I paint. 

― Moley Talhaoui

I can’t cope with any conscious repetition in my work. I mean, of course I see a pattern, but to repeat myself consciously would be like laying bricks on a finished wall.

― Moley Talhaoui

Top: Never Ending Story (SPLACE), 2016, graphite on A4 paper; Bottom: inshallah inc, 2019, Graphite on A4 paper

There is an assumption, based on the color of my skin or my social background, to make work that expresses certain things. For example, when I was in my early twenties and I was asked what I do, the standard assumption of what type of art I did was ”street art” or ”graffiti.”

― Moley Talhaoui

Fortuna, 2020, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 145 x 145 cm / 57 x 57 in

(Click on the image to view tarot card details.)

I would say the purest of changes and the strongest of shifts came with the gift and opportunity to be a part of this perfect sovereign human being. Love prior to my son Atlas was always a trade or based on some gain. No matter if I gave or took, the expectation was always there to generate or demonstrate out of a fear of not maintaining some balance. The remedy is Atlas. 

― Moley Talhaoui

YSELL, 2016, Graphite on A4 paper

I see everything as spiritual. Just to make it clear, in my opinion, spirituality is absolute freedom of one’s own pursuit. I have no firm idea or concept of what that is, but I do find new ways to explain it for myself. It’s dynamic and flexible.

― Moley Talhaoui

No Native Narrative (temple of doom), 2019, Oil on canvas, 200 x 150 cm / 78.75 x 59 in

My method has always been based on the thought that if someone else can make it, then there is a way I can too. This could be seen as either talent-based skill or simply copying, depending on a country’s attitude or culture. For example, American culture loves an underdog story. It is highly valued to see someone make something from nothing. 

― Moley Talhaoui

Clockwise from top right: Martyrant, 2018/19, Graphite on A4 paper; Blomma, 2016, Graphite on A4 paper; Toby Pick, 2019, Graphite on A4 paper.