Tala Madani, artist, photo credits - oh-nena

Tala Madani

Iran (islamic Republic Of) 1981

Surrealism, Painting


Tala Madani
Tala Madani
Iran (islamic Republic Of)
May 9, 2017
Alias of Jasmina Sevic, a researcher and author for Widewalls. She graduated from the Faculty of Political Science (Department for Journalism) in Belgrade in 2013.

The Los Angeles-based artist Tala Madani is widely known for the irony and rich in narrative paintings that are made by using a bold and diverse palette of colors, together with loose brushwork. The more detailed and smaller pieces, as well as video animations, show the combination of violence, frustration, perversity, and playfulness in absurd scenes that contain bald, middle-aged men. The figures depicted are stereotypical and associate to certain political situations, while the symbols and imagery seen in her art provoke curiosity, fantasy, and imagination. The humorous discourse itself is related to cultural and sexual identity and traditional norms. Fictive rituals, homosexual orgies, terrorism, tattoos, and body hair extensions are some of the themes painted in her works.

Tala Madani corrias pilar york oil use linen 2017 contact 2014 tehran
Tala Madani – Dress Codes, 2015 – Photo copyright of Jeff McLane

Tala Madani’s Education and Re-Interpretation of Machismo

The author was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1981, but she moved to the USA when she was 10. In 2004 Tala graduated political science and visual arts at the Oregon State University, Corvallis, while she earned MFA in painting from the Yale University, New Haven in 2006. Madani targets male subjects in child-like and simplified style, sometimes in humiliating, undignified, or shameful poses, thus reversing the position of the usual objectified female body in paintings. In this way, the conventional art and history are being twisted, especially the traditions that characterize Middle-Eastern culture and gender issues. The blunt inelegance in Madani’s drawings reminds of Morris Louis and Helen Frankenthaler.

Madani targets male subjects in child-like and simplified style, sometimes in humiliating, undignified, or shameful poses

Tala Madani's biennial oil work use linen
Tala Madani – Avatar, 2012 – Photo copyright of Jeff McLane

Projects and Other Interests

Some of Tala’s characters wear stripes and so remind of Minimalist abstractions that turn to bodily fluids, leaving marks on a canvas. Madani also makes stop-motion animations, in which each video is consisted of about 2,500 quickly painted still images made in the same style and execution. They are all made sequentially on a simple piece of wood for a camera to record frame by frame. Some of her recent paintings include original illustrations from world-renowned Key Words Reading Scheme series, also known as the Peter and Jane books, named by the main characters. In her show called Smiley has no nose, the artist creates pieces that not only upend social mores but also initiate dialogue about cultural forms that remain in the background of collective awareness.

The artist creates pieces that not only upend social mores, but also initiates dialogue about cultural forms

Tala Madani oil work paintings gallery madani’s corrias pilar
Tala Madani – Rear Projection: Soft, 2013 – Photo copyright of Jeff McLane

The Awards and Exhibitions

Madani was awarded the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting in 2013, the De Volkskrant Art Award in 2012. Her works have been exhibited at the David Kordansky Gallery, LA, at the Lombard-Freid Projects, New York in 2007 and 2008, at the Pilar Corrias, London in 2011 and 2014, as well as at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam in 2012. She has also held group shows at the Saatchi Gallery, London in 2009, at the The New Museum, MoMA P.S. 1 and Whitney Biennial in New York, at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery in 2013, or at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles in 2014, among many other places.

She lives and works in Los Angeles, USA

Featured image: Tala Madani in front of her art – Photo copyright of the David Kordansky Gallery; All images used for illustrative purposes only

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2015Smiley has no noseDavid Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, USSolo
2014Tala MadaniCentro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, ESSolo
2014Tala Madani: Abstract PussyPilar Corrias, London, UKSolo
2014Tala MadaniNottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UKSolo
2014The Great Acceleration: Art in the Anthropocene, Taipei BiennialTaipei, TWGroup
2014Made in L.A. 2014Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USGroup
2014Everything falls faster than an anvilPace, London, UKGroup
2014DramedyForth Worth Contemporary Arts, Fort Worth, USGroup
2014Where are we Now, 5th Marrakech BiennaleMarrakech, MAGroup
2014In the Near FutureThe Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, PLGroup
2013Tala Madani: Rip ImageModerna Museet, Malmo, SESolo
2013Tala Madani: Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary PaintingUtah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City, USSolo
2013Made in SpaceGavin Brown Enterprise, New York, NYGroup
2013PLAY! Recapturing the Radical Imaginiation, Goteborg BiennialGoteborg, SEGroup
2013Future Generation PrizePinchuck Art Prize, Venice, ITGroup
2013New works 13.1: Tala Madani, Adam Putnam and J. Parker ValentineArtpace, San Antonio, USGroup
2013NO BORDERS: Contemporary art in a globalised worldBristol Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol, UKGroup
201221 Artists Shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize 2012Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, UAGroup
2012UNREST: Revolt against Reasonapexart, New York, USGroup
2012De Volkskrant Prijs (De Volkskrant Art Award)Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Amsterdam, NLGroup
2011Tala Madani: The JinnStedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam, NLSolo
2011Manual ManPilar Corrias, London, UKSolo
2011He disappeared into complete silenceMuseum De Hallen, Haarlem, NLGroup
2011Speech Matters, 54th Venice BiennaleDanish Pavilion, Venice, ITGroup
2011Open House, Singapore BiennaleSingapore, SGGroup
2011Between my Head and my Hand,There is Always the Face of DeathPortland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, USGroup
2010PictogramsLombard-Freid Projects, New York, USSolo
2010Framed, Drawings in MotionThe Drawing Center, Smartspaces, New York, US Group
2010Greater New YorkMoMA P.S. 1, New York, USGroup
2010The Future of Tradition, The Tradition of FutureHaus der Kunst, Munich, DEGroup
2010Touched, The 6th Liverpool BiennialLiverpool, UKGroup
2009Dazzle MenPilar Corrias, London, UKSolo
2009The Symbolic Efficiency of the Frame, 4th Tirana International Contemporary Art BiennialTirana, ALGroup
2009The Generational: Younger Than JesusThe New Museum, New York, USGroup
2009Unveiled: New Art from the Middle EastSaatchi Gallery, London, UKGroup
2009Out-of-LineLombard-Freid Projects, New York, USGroup
2009The Girl EffectLombard-Freid Projects, New York, USGroup
2008ASS•AS•SIN: hashish anyone?Lombard-Freid Projects, New York, USSolo
2008Works on PaperLa Maison Jaune, Patricia Low Contemporary, Gstaad, CHGroup
2008Size Matters: XXL-Recent Large-Scale PaintingsHudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, USGroup
2007Smoke and MirrorsLombard-Freid Projects, New York, USSolo
2007Open AteliersRijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam, NLGroup
2007Size Matters: XS-Recent Small Scale PaintingsHudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, USGroup
2006Cake MenOregon State University, Corvallis, USSolo
2005Graduate ShowGreen Gallery, Yale University, USGroup
2003Senior ExhibitionFairbanks Gallery, Oregon State University, Oregon, USGroup
2003Studio 580Bend, USGroup