Nalini Malani: The Rebellion of the Dead. Retrospective 1969-2018. Part II

As part of an international museum collaboration program, the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, present the first retrospective by Nalini Malani in Italy and in France. Covering almost fifty years of her career, the exhibition unfolds across two parts, each presenting a different selection of works. The first one was held at the Centre Pompidou in the fall of 2017, while the second part will be presented at the Castello between 18 September 2018 and 6 January 2019.

A celebrated pioneer of contemporary art in India, Nalini Malani (Karachi, 1946) lives and works in Mumbai, a city the artist still prefers to call Bombay. Through drawing, painting, installations, and numerous other experimental forms of art she explores the return of violence in history in a context of relentless globalization, especially against women. Profoundly political, Malani’s art draws inspiration from the archetypes present in Oriental cultures and in Greek mythology, seeking to establish a wide-ranging dialogue with disciplines including contemporary theatre and literature. By involving viewers in immersive and multisensory environments, the artist reflects on the devastating effects of war, on the phantoms of religion and on the exploitation of nature.



 As Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Director of the Castello di Rivoli, explains: “Malani’s work concerns making visible the invisible, foregrounding the shadows, blending the documentary and the urgent with the mythical and universal. To be born in Karachi in 1946 of a Sikh mother and a Theosophist father, means to have entered a world in crisis, tormented by the consequences of colonialism, world wars and their aftermath with huge populations in forced movement, yet with the cosmopolitan and worldly transnational emancipatory knowledges of theosophists such as Annie Besant, whose visions of an interrelated universe of thought forms prefigured later Quantum physics. Malani’s family, like many others, was forced to flee during Partition, and her early life was marked by those times to the degree that her imagery surfaces as the return of repressed psychic material, or appears to be vomited up from the depths of a subconscious filled with horrors and trauma.”

Developed in collaboration with the artist, both parts of the retrospective Nalini Malani: The Rebellion of the Dead present works in non-chronological order to highlight the grand narratives that recur in her practice since 1969. To contrast the traditional meaning of the word “retrospective,” Malani has created two newWall Drawing/Erasure Performance works, one for the Castello and one for the Centre Pompidou. The work at Castello presents characters and iconographic allusions to Indian art, to Greek mythology and to stories of contemporary violence and discrimination. References to contemporary writers such as Italo Calvino (1923-1985) and the poet Attipat Krishnaswami Ramanujan (1929-1993) are also present.

Curated by Marcella Beccaria
In collaboration with  Centre Pompidou, Paris
Opening: Monday 17 September 2018, 7 pm


Video by Ranabir Das