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“Partition is what we are living even now”: A Conversation with Nalini Malani

This informal conversation took place in March 2015 in Nalini Malani’s studio in Mumbai during a C-MAP trip to India. Gayatri Sinha and Stuart Comer talked to Malani about her practice, spanning from the 1960s to the 1990s. The discussion focused on Malani’s early lens-based experiments, her interest in psychoanalysis, her activities in the 1980s with the four-women group (which included her, Nilima Sheikh, Arpita Singh, and Madhvi Parekh), and her views about Indian modernity and contemporaneity.

This video is the first in a series of dialogues with Indian artists. It was produced in collaboration with Critical Collective, a Delhi-based initiative committed to archiving and building knowledge about the arts in India and South Asia.

Names and titles of works mentioned in the interview are listed below.

Part 1: Anand Patwardhan, Madhusree Dutta, City of Desires (1991), Ashish Rajadhyaksha, Remembering Toba Tek Singh (1998), Sa’adat Hasan Manto, Coomaraswamy Hall - Prince of Wales Museum, Medeamaterial (1993), Jason, Film Division of India, Jean Bhownagary, Vision Exchange Workshop, Dream Houses (1969), Akbar Padamsee, Bhulabhai Desai Institute, Tyeb Mehta, Asha Puthli, Prafulla Joshi, Annapurna Devi, Alaknanda Samarth, Object Relations School, Wilfred Bion, Betty Joseph, Irma Pick, Judith Butler, Plato, Gamepieces (2003/09), In Search of Vanished Blood (2012), Hindutva, Bhagavata Purana Shiva, Vishnu, Mohini, Ayyappa, Ram, Sita, Thomas McEvilley, The Shape of Ancient Thought, Wendy Doniger, Transgressions (2001), Kumar Shahani, and Mani Kaul.

Part 2: Nasreen Mohamedi, Altaf, Untitled II (1970), Vision Exchange Workshop, Akbar Padamsee, Arpita Singh, Nilima Sheikh, Madhvi Parekh, Alaknanda Samarth, Medeamaterial (1993), Progressive Artists’ Group, J. Swaminathan, Jehangir Art Gallery, Triveni Kala Sangam, Galaxy of Musicians (1857), Re-thinking Raja Ravi Varma (1989), Unity in Diversity (2003), Bertolt Brecht, The Job (1996), Shilpa Gupta, N. Pushpamala, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Amrita Sher-Gil, Frida Kahlo, Diego Riviera, Akbar Padamsee, Syed Haider Raza, and Francis Newton Souza.

Part 3: Partition, Gamepieces (2003/09), Shilpa Gupta, Anand Patwardhan, Reena Saini Kallat, Progressive Artists’ Group, Bhupen Khakhar, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Nilima Sheikh, Vivan Sundaram, J.J. School of Art, Atul Dodiya, Anju Dodiya, Place for People, Sudhir Patwardhan, Women Writing in India: 600 BC to the Present, Muddupalani, Susie Tharu, K. Lalitha, Rekhti, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, In Search of Vanished Blood (2012), Johannes Itten, Josef Albers, Dream Houses (1969), Transgressions (2001/14), László Moholy-Nagy, Vision in Motion, Remembering Toba Tek Singh (1998), Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, M. K. Gandhi, Syed Haider Raza, and Vasudeo S. Gaitonde.

Author

Screen shot 2014 09 30 at 11.51.54 am

Stuart Comer

Chief Curator, Media and Performance Art The Museum of Modern Art Stuart Comer is the Chief Curator of the Department of Media and Performance Art at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. He oversees the department’s program of special... Read more »
Moma nalini malani portrait

Nalini Malani

Nalini Malani (born 1946 in Karachi, Undivided India), is considered one of the most prominent Indian artists working today. At the very inception of her career in1969 she... Read more »
Gayatri

Gayatri Sinha

Gayatri Sinha is an art critic and curator based in New Delhi. Her primary areas of interest are around the issues of gender and iconography, media, economics and social... Read more »
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“Partition is what we are living even now”: A Conversation with Nalini Malani

This informal conversation took place in March 2015 in Nalini Malani’s studio in Mumbai during a C-MAP trip to India. Gayatri Sinha and Stuart Comer talked to Malani about her practice, spanning from the 1960s to the 1990s. The discussion focused on Malani’s early lens-based experiments, her interest in psychoanalysis, her activities in the 1980s with the four-women group (which included her, Nilima Sheikh, Arpita Singh, and Madhvi Parekh), and her views about Indian modernity and contemporaneity.

This video is the first in a series of dialogues with Indian artists. It was produced in collaboration with Critical Collective, a Delhi-based initiative committed to archiving and building knowledge about the arts in India and South Asia.

Names and titles of works mentioned in the interview are listed below.

Part 1: Anand Patwardhan, Madhusree Dutta, City of Desires (1991), Ashish Rajadhyaksha, Remembering Toba Tek Singh (1998), Sa’adat Hasan Manto, Coomaraswamy Hall - Prince of Wales Museum, Medeamaterial (1993), Jason, Film Division of India, Jean Bhownagary, Vision Exchange...

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This informal conversation took place in March 2015 in Nalini Malani’s studio in Mumbai during a C-MAP trip to India. Gayatri Sinha and Stuart Comer talked to Malani about her practice, spanning from the 1960s to the 1990s. The discussion focused on Malani’s early lens-based experiments, her interest in psychoanalysis, her activities in the 1980s with the four-women group (which included her, Nilima Sheikh, Arpita Singh, and Madhvi Parekh), and her views about Indian modernity and contemporaneity.

This video is the first in a series of dialogues with Indian artists. It was produced in collaboration with Critical Collective, a Delhi-based initiative committed to archiving and building knowledge about the arts in India and South Asia.

Names and titles of works mentioned in the interview are listed below.

Part 1: Anand Patwardhan, Madhusree Dutta, City of Desires (1991), Ashish Rajadhyaksha, Remembering Toba Tek Singh (1998), Sa’adat Hasan Manto, Coomaraswamy Hall - Prince of Wales Museum, Medeamaterial (1993), Jason, Film Division of India, Jean Bhownagary, Vision Exchange Workshop, Dream Houses (1969), Akbar Padamsee, Bhulabhai Desai Institute, Tyeb Mehta, Asha Puthli, Prafulla Joshi, Annapurna Devi, Alaknanda Samarth, Object Relations School, Wilfred Bion, Betty Joseph, Irma Pick, Judith Butler, Plato, Gamepieces (2003/09), In Search of Vanished Blood (2012), Hindutva, Bhagavata Purana Shiva, Vishnu, Mohini, Ayyappa, Ram, Sita, Thomas McEvilley, The Shape of Ancient Thought, Wendy Doniger, Transgressions (2001), Kumar Shahani, and Mani Kaul.

Part 2: Nasreen Mohamedi, Altaf, Untitled II (1970), Vision Exchange Workshop, Akbar Padamsee, Arpita Singh, Nilima Sheikh, Madhvi Parekh, Alaknanda Samarth, Medeamaterial (1993), Progressive Artists’ Group, J. Swaminathan, Jehangir Art Gallery, Triveni Kala Sangam, Galaxy of Musicians (1857), Re-thinking Raja Ravi Varma (1989), Unity in Diversity (2003), Bertolt Brecht, The Job (1996), Shilpa Gupta, N. Pushpamala, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Amrita Sher-Gil, Frida Kahlo, Diego Riviera, Akbar Padamsee, Syed Haider Raza, and Francis Newton Souza.

Part 3: Partition, Gamepieces (2003/09), Shilpa Gupta, Anand Patwardhan, Reena Saini Kallat, Progressive Artists’ Group, Bhupen Khakhar, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Nilima Sheikh, Vivan Sundaram, J.J. School of Art, Atul Dodiya, Anju Dodiya, Place for People, Sudhir Patwardhan, Women Writing in India: 600 BC to the Present, Muddupalani, Susie Tharu, K. Lalitha, Rekhti, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, In Search of Vanished Blood (2012), Johannes Itten, Josef Albers, Dream Houses (1969), Transgressions (2001/14), László Moholy-Nagy, Vision in Motion, Remembering Toba Tek Singh (1998), Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, M. K. Gandhi, Syed Haider Raza, and Vasudeo S. Gaitonde.

Part 1: Political Engagement and Lens-Based Works

Part 2: Female Artists and Feminism

Part 3: National History, Modernism, and Post-colonialism

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