March 18 – June 5, 2016
|Excerpts from Reviews|
|The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Inaugural Exhibition @The MET Breuer|
Celebrating one of the most important artists to emerge in post-Independence India, and marking the first museum retrospective of the artist’s work in the United States, Nasreen Mohamedi examines the career of an artist whose singular and sustained engagement with abstraction adds a rich layer to the history of South Asian art and to modernism on an international level. The retrospective will span the entire career of Mohamedi (1937–1990)—from her early works in the 1960s through her late works on paper in the 1980s—exploring the conceptual complexity and visual subtlety that made her work unique for its time, and demonstrating why she is considered one of the most significant artists of her generation. Together with the thematic exhibition Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, Nasreen Mohamedi will inaugurate The MET Breuer, which expands upon the Met’s modern and contemporary art program, when it opens to the public on March 18, 2016
The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, with the collaboration of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi.
“We are proud to present Nasreen Mohamedi in our first wave of exhibitions at The Met Breuer,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Mohamedi’s work calls on us to expand our understanding of graphic minimalism in a transnational context. It is a project that speaks to our interest in introducing a broad range of audiences to the innovative work created by artists across borders.”
Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of the Met’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, said: “One of our goals with The Met Breuer is to present thoughtful exhibitions that posit a broader meaning of modernism across vast geographies of art. The poignant story of Mohamedi, a relatively little-known but significant artist, reveals a highly individual artistic quest, drawing on historic sources from across the world, alongside her evocative photography as an unexpected form of visual note-taking.”
More than 130 of Mohamedi’s paintings, drawings, and photographs, as well as rarely seen diaries, will be brought together from collections around the world in order to trace the evolution of her aesthetic approach and the shifts in her artistic practice. Working in her preferred medium of pencil and ink on paper, she drew delicate and deliberate lines, experimenting with intricate grid-like forms in horizontal bands, or hard-edged lines of varying gradations that lift off the page at acute angles.
This sweeping presentation highlights Mohamedi’s fascination with the possibilities of line to animate one’s perception of light and shade, an aesthetic that is also seen in the carefully focused and closely cropped photographs she took throughout her life. Having traveled extensively from Tokyo to New York, Mohamedi had a cosmopolitan outlook that drew her equally to the 16th-century Mughal buildings of Fatehpur Sikri and the 20th-century modernist architecture of Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh. Her exposure to Western philosophy and literature as well as Sufi poetry also contributed to the multifaceted perspective she developed throughout her career and can be seen in her diaries, which include quotes by writers as diverse as Rainer Maria Rilke and Albert Camus, as well as Rumi, Ghalib, and Mohammad Iqbal.