"Modernism is often thought of as starting somewhere in Europe, let's say France - not to be biased at all - and then proceeding in a linear progression, from Dada and Cubism through Conceptual Art, Minimalism, Pop. But then you have an artist whose work might parallel Ellsworth Kelly's but who came from India and, further, who was a woman in India. And that is fascinating to me-that in an extremely patriarchal culture, this woman was doing such strong, important work." (P. Vergne, 'Phillipe Vergne on Nasreen Mohamedi', Art in America, August 2015, p. 33)
From a young age, Nasreen Mohamedi’s life was unequivocally cosmopolitan. She attended St. Martin’s School of Art, London from 1954-57 and was a student at Monsieur Guillard's Atelier, Paris from 1961-63. Through her life, she spent considerable amount of time in Bahrain, Iran and Turkey besides India, and was inspired by Islamic art, architecture and the Arabic language. During a time when many of her contemporaries were engaged in the figurative tradition, Mohamedi’s clean, minimalist approach, that first emerged in her oil paintings and later in her ink and graphite drawings was a revelation. With an architect’s sensibility and through the language of geometry, she developed a highly-personalised vocabulary to record her perceptions of the world.
The first phase of Mohamedi’s practice during the early 1960s, is largely dominated by semi-abstract and lyrical paintings. As exemplified in the present lot, bold lines and swatches of colour resemble the virtuoso manner of post-war abstraction in the School of Paris. Her tryst with “space” during the early 1960s began with the mediums of painting and photography and “was inspired by both man-made environments, especially architecture, geometry as well as the underlying structures in Nature. The optical, metaphysical and mystical overlapped in her quest for a non-objective, non-material world.” (R. Karode, ‘A view to infinity NASREEN MOHAMEDI: A Retrospective', Kiran Nadar Museum of Art website)