NASREEN MOHAMEDI (1937-1990)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more The Pursuit of Photography Silence, silence inward a further stillnessMoving sounds, shadows penetrating On the outer skinMoving and whirling A whirlwind of no consequence Grains of sand which sparkle with the sun Darkest shadows of the moon Lifting a white sheetAll a process of decay and birth To see a shadow in a dark, dark room Fingers to reach a destination Clutching liquids A cold fire PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF A GENTLEMAN, MUMBAI
NASREEN MOHAMEDI (1937-1990)

Untitled

Details
NASREEN MOHAMEDI (1937-1990)
Untitled
photographic prints on paper
7 7/8 x 11¾ in. (20 x 29.8 cm.) image; 9 3/8 x 12 in. (23.8 x 30.5 cm.) image; 9 3/8 x 12 in. (23.8 x 30.5 cm.) each sheet
Executed circa 1965, printed 2000; number two from an edition of two (each)
2
Provenance
Acquired from the artist's family, circa early 2000
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Lot Essay

Much like her jottings and diary entries, Nasreen Mohamedi’s photographic practice, which spanned most of her career from the early 1960s onwards, was a largely private pursuit. As Susette Min notes, these photographic prints, which were not exhibited during the artist’s lifetime, can perhaps be read as “personal notebooks that one can turn to for insight into her motivations and cite as evidence of the sustained way in which she looked at the world through an abstract system or structural order of lines, shapes, light, shade, textures and patterns.” (S. Min, ‘Fugitive Time: Nasreen Mohamedi’s Drawings and Photographs’, Nasreen Mohamedi, Lines Among Lines, London, 2005, p. 22)

Several of her early photographs like this pair, posthumously printed by her family after her untimely death in 1990, were shot in barren desert locations in Bahrain, Kuwait and India. This particular pair is likely associated with the trip Mohamedi took to Rajasthan in the mid-1960s, to assist fellow artist Maqbool Fida Husain as the still photographer on his film project, Through the Eyes of a Painter. Together, these closely-cropped images reveal the way in which the artist manipulated framing and lighting in her photographic work to tease out the nuances of each image. Rather than serving a documentary purpose, these works extended Mohamedi’s close examination of the natural and the man-made and her distillation and documentation of their basic essence. “The photographs, neither representational nor abstract, are sited in simple encounters of the tangible, pared down to light and dark, seeming to reveal universal truths beyond the logical. Intensely personal, and as controlled as the gaze of the artist, they reach outside the self, to perceive and connect.” (Nasreen Mohamedi, Becoming One, Talwar Gallery website, accessed April 2016)

Currently, a comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work is on view at The Metropolitan Museum in New York. This exhibition, which inaugurated the venerable institution’s newest outpost, the Met Breuer, is Mohamedi’s first museum retrospective in the United States, having travelled from the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi. Speaking about the international significance of Mohamedi’s oeuvre, Sheena Wagstaff, chairman of the museum’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art noted, “The poignant story of Mohamedi, a relatively little-known but significant artist, reveals a highly individual artistic quest, drawing on historic sources from across the world, alongside her evocative photography as an unexpected form of visual note-taking.” (S. Wagstaff, ‘Nasreen Mohamedi’, Metropolitan Museum website, accessed April 2016)
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