September 13 through December 21, 2013
Talwar Gallery is delighted to present Becoming One, an exhibition of photographs, drawings and the diaries of Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990). Drawn from across her practice the works on view offer a unique insight into the focused vision that characterizes her oeuvre, including some of her last works and some that have never before been exhibited.
Possessing a totality of perspective, unity of thought and action, and absolute surrender to purpose, Mohamedi continued her unflinching quest to examine, inquire and strive for a cohesion of all that was – inside or outside, human or beyond. Whether creating with ink on paper or through a lens on film, she strove to bring together what seemed singular and separate to a connected, co-dependent whole. This was a constant and a continuous process where time did not matter and space was infinite, not one with a destination but a direction.
Mohamedi distilled the structure and order around her to an essence, of form. The Photographs, neither representational nor abstract, are sited in simple encounters of the tangible, pared down to light and dark, seeming to reveal universal truths beyond the logical. Intensely personal, and as controlled as the gaze of the artist, they reach outside the self, to perceive and connect. The convergence of individual and nature, form and space that emerges from her photographs is further revealed by the recently discovered photographs by Mohamedi of her own drawings. This inverted gaze, reversing the processes of her practice, instills a remarkable equilibrium to her oeuvre, leading the curve to a complete circle.
Her drawings, modest in scale and monumental in experience, are palpable, living systems. In the Series on graph paper they seem like embryonic stages of a life form, continuously connected to the one before and after, almost identical except for the gentle variance of a single breath of a line.
The intimate palm-sized scale of Mohamedi’s Diaries (1968-1988) are in contrast to the immensity of what they hold. Spanning over two decades, they astonish and underscore the strength and consistency of Mohamedi’s focus and commitment. On these pages, words and forms, inspirations and struggles, life and art coexist – poetic, humbling and exhilarating. Here Nasreen Becomes One.
Nasreen Mohamedi was born in 1937 in Karachi, India and moved with her family to Bombay in 1944. She studied at St. Martins School of Art in London from 1954 to 57 and later in Paris from 1961-63 under a French Government scholarship. On her return to India she joined the Bhulabhai Desai Institute where she came into close contact with artists Tyeb Mehta, M.F. Husain and V.S. Gaitonde. In 1964 she accompanied M.F. Husain to Rajasthan as a photographer while he worked on his film ‘Through the eyes of the painter’. Mohamedi joined the M.S. University, Faculty of Fine Arts, in Baroda in 1972 and continued to teach and work there until 1988.
Open and inquisitive, she embarked on a practice with no precedent in the narrative art dominant in the India of the times. Sensitive to the barely perceptible while resolute to her vision, Mohamedi created a distinctive space for herself, which would later mark a pinnacle for Indian art and become essential for modernism. Nasreen Mohamedi passed away in 1990 in Kihim, India.
Mohamedi’s works have been on view in exhibitions and institutions worldwide, including On Line: Drawing through the 20th Century at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY; Fifth Asia-Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art at Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; Documenta XII, Kassel, Germany; Lines Among Lines at Drawing Center, New York, NY; WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Lines of Thought at Parasol Unit Foundation, London, UK; The Last Picture Show at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Fotomuseum, Winterthur, Switzerland and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN. Currently her works are on view in Nasreen Mohamedi: a view to infinity at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in New Delhi. This is the artist’s third solo exhibition with Talwar Gallery over the last decade.
The Estate of Nasreen Mohamedi is represented by Talwar Gallery.