Details
Tala Madani (b. 1981)
The House
oil and pencil on canvas
180 x 327cm.
Executed in 2006
Provenance
Lombard-Freid Projects, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2006.
Exhibited
Malmö, Moderna Museet, Tala Madani: Rip Image, 2013 (illustrated, pp. 172-173). This exhibition later travelled to Stockholm, Moderna Museet.

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Elvira Jansen
Elvira Jansen

Lot Essay

Executed in 2006, Tala Madani’s large-scale painting The House perfectly encapsulates the Iranian born artist’s darkly comedic style. Both provocative and alluring, her large canvases typically show cloistered gatherings of men engaged in perverse yet humorous activities. In the present work, broad sweeps of vivid red paint undulate over an amber hued backdrop. Madani has personifed a number of these formless shapes with simplistically rendered mask-like heads, transforming them into kneeling fgures engrossed in ritualised prayer or perhaps chastisement. Flitting hypnotically between fguration and abstraction, Madani’s work is masterfully elusive: she answers nothing, but questions everything. Drawing on her Iranian heritage, where strict social etiquette drives division between the sexes, as well as from an extensive knowledge of American art including the works of Sue Williams and Lee Lozano, Madani’s vibrant and incendiary compositions seek to challenge gender roles and deep-seated stereotypes. ‘Humour and satire are certainly efective forms of approaching dificult subjects,’ she has commented. ‘I’m also very interested in the physical sense of release that humour can give us’ (T. Madani quoted in ‘Studio Visit: Tala Madani’). An integral element of her work, humour becomes a vital means of expressing and exploring the repressed unconscious. As products of curiosity, fantasy and desire, works such as the present arouse a cacophony of interpretation that, surpassing mere commentary, exists as a powerful mediation and contemplation of the world we live in.

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