Tala Madani

(Iran/USA) b.1981

Lives and works in Los Angeles

Tala Madani’s work is characterised by loose expressive brushwork rendered in a bold, distinctive palette. Rich in narrative and heavy in irony, Madani’s paintings depict darkly comic mise-en-scènes. Madani has gained attention for her highly personal paintings depicting Middle Eastern men performing bizarre narrative rituals. In her art Madani reverses the traditional female object in painting, using laughter as energy.

In this biennial Madani presents three animations and two paintings. In the painting 3-D Squeeze, green and red lines give the illusion of 3-D figures. Two giant children squeeze out the fluids of little black and white men, almost melting them. The children are not compliant with their own homogeneity – they use the milky-yellow-brown secretions of these little men to draw new features for themselves.

Similarly, in the animation Wrong House, tension is played out between dimensional figures and a flat black-and-white man. Here, the flat man strangles visitors until their blood gives him color. Only then is he able to exit his realm.

Madani’s recent solo exhibitions include: Tala Madani, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (2014); Rip Image, Moderna Museet, Malmö and Stockholm, Sweden (2013); The Jinn, Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2011); and Manual Man, Pilar Corrias, London (2011). Recent group exhibitions include: the 5th Marrakech Biennale, Marrakech (2014); Göteborg Biennial, Göteborg, Sweden (2013); The Future Generation Art Prize@Venice 2013, Palazzo Contarini Polignac, Venice (2013); the Danish Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011); and The Great New York, PS1 MoMA, New York (2010). Madani was awarded the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting (2013) and the De Volkskrant Art Award (2012). She was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize, Pinchuk Art Centre, Russia (2012) and was the recipient of the Van den Berch van Heemstede Stichting Fellowship (2008) and the Kees Verwey Fellowship (2007). She was artist-in-residence at the British School of Rome (2010) and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (2007).

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