Pilar Corrias announces two exhibitions of new work by Tala Madani

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Pilar Corrias announces two exhibitions of new work by Tala Madani
Tala Madani, Shit Mom (Drawn Family), 2021. Oil on linen, 50.8 x 61 x 2.5 cm. 20 x 24 x 1 in. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London

LONDON.- Pilar Corrias is presenting two exhibitions of new work by Tala Madani. ‘Skid Mark’ is at the gallery’s Eastcastle Street location, 4 June – 10 July 2021, whilst ‘Chalk Mark’ will inaugurate the gallery’s new location at 2 Savile Row, opening 1 July and running until 8 September 2021. The exhibitions include painting and animation, and together constitute the artist’s first UK solo presentation in five years.

Tala Madani (b. 1981, Tehran) is known for work that deconstructs and satirises social norms. Early works focused on farcical male figures engaged in crude or intimate activities. These works examined power structures and the construction of male identity. Recent years have seen female figures appear in her work (shit moms), as well as those of children, and all her work is characterised by an uncomfortable comedy that aligns repulsion with empathy, intimacy with the grotesque.

‘Skid Mark’ (Eastcastle Street) incorporates a number of paintings from the artist’s Shit Moms series. Begun in 2019, the series depicts distorted female figures whose dripping, amorphous forms appear to be made entirely of excrement. The new paintings see shit moms appear repeatedly in wooden interiors, often grappling with representations or drawings of children rather than children themselves, as in previous works. The exhibition also includes an animation, the first time Madani has animated a shit mom figure. In it a shit mom passes through bourgeois interiors leaving parts of herself, as shitty marks, on surfaces and furniture. Her journey becomes increasingly fraught as attempts at masturbation are frustrated by her semi-solid form. Subsequent attempts to bang her head against a table cause her head to lose its shape and require reforming.

Other new paintings see Pinocchio emerge as a recurrent character. Madani presents Pinocchio as a grown man, years after his transformation into a ‘real boy’, with one crucial element forgotten: he still has a penis made of wood. The exhibition also includes a new series of paintings depicting ceiling fans. Fans have long been a subject of fascination for the artist, as sinister objects that – suspended precariously above us and slicing through the air – commonly inspire fear and phobia. Fans also provided an opportunity for Madani to look anew at the air, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, as a new site for dread and the unknown.

‘Chalk Mark’ (Savile Row) will bring together new works exploring education and instruction. Where ‘Skid Mark’ will focus on the interior world, ‘Chalk Mark’ will take on the exterior, examining the ways in which children are controlled and cultured by their schooling.

A series of Chalk Board paintings will engage with the role of copying and repetition in learning, via repeated motifs that are deliberately undisciplined and unruly. Children are depicted as accosted by education, with one painting showing a line of lilliputian figures entering the mouth of a prone adult male. A line of graduates exits from his back passage.

Unidentified officers will appear repeatedly in the exhibition, symbols of enforcement, conformity and control. In a perversion of this dynamic, one painting shows a child drawing a policeman. In another, the child drawing the policemen has become a drawing himself. A painting of children on magic carpets flying toward a pair of floor fans recalls the ceiling fans of ‘Skid Mark’. Another painting shows a child tearing apart his bottom to reveal a shit-built interior.

Tala Madani was born in 1981 in Tehran, Iran, and lives and works in Los Angeles. Madani received her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2006. Selected solo shows include: Vienna Secessions, Vienna (2019); Portikus, Frankfurt (2019), La Panacée, Montpellier (2017); MIT Visual Arts Center, Cambridge (2016); Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville (2014); Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham (2014); Moderna Museet Malmö & Stockholm (2013); and Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2011). Selected group exhibitions include: ‘Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium’, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2020); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2017); National Gallery of Victoria Triennial, Melbourne (2017); ‘The Great Acceleration: Art in the Anthropocene’, Taipei Biennial (curated by Nicholas Bourriaud), Taipei (2014); ‘Made in L.A.’ 2014, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); ‘Where are we Now?’, 5th Marrakech Biennale, Marrakech (2014); ‘The Future Generation Art Prize@Venice 2013’, Palazzo Contarini Polignac, Venice (2013); and ‘The Great New York’, MoMA PS1, New York (2010). Madani has been awarded the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s James Dicke Contemporary Artist Prize (2020), the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting (2013) and the De Volkskrant Art Award (2012), and was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize, Pinchuk Art Centre (2012), 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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