Nalini Malani: Transgressions

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

March 18- June 18, 2017

Nalini Malani is one of India’s most prominent contemporary artists. Born in Karachi in 1946, the Partition of India caused her family to become refugees in 1947. This disruption of the subcontinent affects Malani’s art and personal life to this day. Originally trained in Bombay as a classical painter, Malani broke out of the frame in the early 1990s when orthodox religion-oriented politics were on the rise. Malani critiqued this development by using a variety of media that were new to India, such as wall drawings/erasure performances, experimental theater, artist’s books, and video/shadow plays. A social activist artist, Malani structures her work with rich storylines permeated by themes such as migration, globalization, poverty, and feminism, often combined with motifs from classical literature and mythology.

The installation Transgressions forms the heart of this exhibition. It is a unique combination of painting, video, and moving shadows that Malani has coined a ‘video/shadow play’. A selection of additional works features diverse themes and references to the political, literary and classical narratives that have occupied her experimental artistic practice over the past 50 years.

This exhibition is part of the long-term research program STEDELIJK TURNS that sheds new light on the Stedelijk’s collection through the prism of current topics. It is the first of six presentations in 2017 that addressed the theme of migration.