At first glance this exhibition of drawings by Moroccan artist Soufiane Ababri seems to follow the trajectory of homoerotica as laid down by the likes of Aubrey Beardsley and Tom of Finland. However, the narrative of the images also reveals a complex subversion of the 1943 novella The Little Prince. Ababri takes up the tale as the prince arrives in the northern Sahara from outer space and injects a new storyline: The Little Prince meets and falls in love with an Arab man. With his alternative fairytale, Ababri sets out to probe the history of the 1960s gay movement in France as seen from a contemporary Arab perspective. And he does so deftly with works such as “Bedwork” (2019), showing his updated woke blond prince rummaging through a box of records including Rachid Taha’s “Rock el Casbah” and Klaus Nomi. The works here are rife with symbolism but all readable with the aid of the generous exhibition text. A deeply layered show with a lot to say.
Something New Under the Little Prince’s Body | Dittrich & Schlechtriem, Mitte. Through Feb 1.