Pilar Corrias Gallery is delighted to present the London debut of Iranian-American painter Tala Madani. One of the most engaging painters of her generation, Tala Madani creates darkly comic mis-en-scènes in which small and large scale groupings of bald men engage in absurd scenarios that manifest playfulness alongside violence and perversity.
For her first exhibition at Pilar Corrias Gallery, Madani has created new works inspired by dazzle-ships. Devised during the First World War to confuse and upset the targeting of U-boat commanders, dazzle-ship painting was a method of camouflaging ships in brightly coloured distortions of sloping lines, curves and stripes. Inspired in part by contemporaneous artistic developments within the Parisian avant-garde, dazzle-ship painting shared the cubist concern with breaking down the realistic appearance of objects. Madani has taken tropes from this archaic and short-lived camouflage method and articulated them parodically. Dazzle-ships become dazzle men enthusiastically trying to disguise themselves in sloppy, painted camouflage, or offering up absurd demonstrations of their valuable ‘techniques’ to theatrical groupings of keen pupils.
Whilst the more descriptive and intimately scaled works depict the dazzle men in action, Madani’s new large-scale paintings articulate tropes of American abstraction bathetically through repeated human forms. Ideas of camouflage and concealment are expanded in works such as ‘Everyone Wants To Be Chinese’ (2008) in which the subjects play ‘face-off’, changing their identity by hiding behind a picture or disfiguring a face.
Tala Madani was born in Tehran in 1981, and received her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2006. After making her solo debut in 2007, Madani was awarded the Kees Verwey Fellowship and was artist in residence at The Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam in 2007. Recent exhibitions of the artist’s work include Lombard Freid Projects, New York (2008); Patricia Low Contemporary, Gstaad (2008); Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville (2008); Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill (2007). Future exhibitions include ‘Younger than Jesus’ New Museum, New York (2009). Tala Madani lives and works in Amsterdam.