Thursday, October 09, 2008

Listening to the Shades

Listening to the Shades is a momentous exhibition of recent works by the internationally renowned Indian artist Nalini Malani. The exhibition is on view at Arario New York from September 18 through October 25, 2008.

Nalini Malini was born in Karachi, which was part of India until the partition in 1947. Thereafter, Malini and her family found themselves living in another country—Pakistan. They then took the huge and difficult step of relocating to Calcutta. Malani is fiercely critical of the rationale and effects of partition and addresses some of its consequences in her work. Her career as a painter began in the late 1960s. Malani started to receive international acclaim in the 1980s for her figurative and politically charged work that raised issues of race, class and gender. While painting and drawing have remained fundamental to the artist’s practice, today she is also recognized for her work with new media, resulting in brilliantly multi-layered and immersive installations. Her art goes beyond the boundaries of conventional forms and narratives to initiate new dialogues.

The exhibition’s title echoes Malani’s most recent work, Listening to the Shades, comprising forty-two paintings with a sound component. This major installation will debut at Arario New York. Inspired by the writing of Christa Wolf on the ancient Greek myth of Cassandra, Malani reactivates a myth that she considers germane to our present moment: Cassandra, a woman whose insights are ignored and considered heretical, symbolizes the unfinished business of the women’s revolution.

Also on view: Splitting the Other (2007), the colossal fourteen-panel installation made especially for the octagonal room in the Italian Pavilion of the 2007 Venice Biennale (for which Mr. Storr was Artistic Director); Remembering Mad Meg, a video/shadow play commissioned by the Irish Museum of Modern Art and never before seen in the United States; Mother India: Transactions in the Construction of Pain (2005), the five-panel channel video play installation commissioned for the Venice Biennale in 2005. Please call or visit the gallery for a complete checklist.

Malani (b. 1946) lives and works in Mumbai. She trained as a painter and received her Fine Arts degree from the Sir Jamshedjee Jeejeebhoy School of Art, Bombay in 1969. She has exhibited widely with solo exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2007), New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2002-03) and the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem (2005-06). Her work has also been included in major group exhibitions, including Emotional Drawing at the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (2008), New Narratives: Contemporary Art from India at the Chicago Cultural Centre (2007); Edge of Desire: Recent Art in India at Asia Society, New York (2005); Cinema of Prayoga (2006) and Century City (2001) at Tate Modern, London; and Unpacking Europe at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2001). Malani has participated in the recent biennales of Sydney (2008), Venice (2007 and 2005), Sharjah (2005), Seoul (2004), Istanbul (2003), and Havana (2000). This fall, her work is also included in the exhibition Prospect.1, the largest biennial of international contemporary art ever organized in the United States.

Malani’s work is included in major museums and collections, including Museum of Modern Art, British Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art (New Delhi), Stedelijk Museum, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Sammlung Hauser & Wirth, and Devi Art Foundation.

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