Nasreen Mohamedi: Notes

Reflections on Indian Modernism / Curated by Suman Gopinath and Grant Watson

(lifePR) ( Leipzig, )
Opening: Monday, January 10, 2011, 7 pm
Showing January 11 - January 29, 2011
Opening hours: Tues - Fri, 12 noon - 6 pm, Sat 10 am - 3 pm
Location: Gallery of the Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig (HGB)

Guided tour by curators Suman Gopinath and Grant Watson:
Monday, January 10, 2011, 6 pm

This exhibition is one of the first solo exhibitions to feature the Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi whose work was shown in documenta 12. Nasreen Mohamedi: Notes at the gallery of the Academy of Visual Arts is the only chance to see the show in Germany (it is curated by Gopinath and Watson and was first shown at the Office for Contemporary Art Norway in 2010). The presentation in Leipzig will be supplemented by a series of lectures and guided tours in which contemporary artists address their relations to Modernism, issues of cultural translation, and their own research in India, starting with Austrian artist Florian Pumhösl (Tues., Jan. 11, 2011, 8:30 pm; more detailed information you will find at the end of the press release.)

Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990) is regarded as one of the most important Indian artists of her generation, and her paintings, drawings and photographs, produced from the early 1960s to the late 1980s, constitute a key body of work within the modernist canon. In art-historical terms, Mohamedi's practice can be seen in relation to an earlier generation of Indian abstract artists such as V.S. Gaitonde, and from an international perspective to works on paper by Agnes Martin or, through its invocation of utopian abstraction, to Kazimir Malevich and the Suprematists.

Mohamedi was born in Karachi (formerly in India, now in Pakistan) before moving to Mumbai. She travelled abroad to study, spending time in London at Saint Martin's School of Art (1954-57) and in Paris. After extensive travels in the 1960s, she returned to India and settled in Baroda in 1972; here, she became a teacher at the prestigious M S University, Faculty of Fine Arts.

In Baroda, Mohamedi produced her classic works: small-scale, abstract geometric drawings, painstakingly composed using pen and ink. While these drawings made from the 1970s onwards uncompromisingly pursue reduction and abstraction, they also bear clear signs of the specific context in which they were made. The links to her own cultural background and moment in history are made explicit in her photographs: they document the landscapes and architecture of the Indian subcontinent - both modernist and of Islamic heritage. Throughout her career, Mohamedi produced photographs as a visual record of the places she visited. And today they stand as an important part of her oeuvre.

As well as a large selection of drawings, photographs and paintings, the exhibition Nasreen Mohamedi: Notes also shows archive material from Nasreen Mohamedi's studio: the invitations, calendars, newspaper clippings, sketches and notes reveal her working process and the way she developed a language that is both visual and conceptual.

Nasreen Mohamedi: Notes is curated by Suman Gopinath and Grant Watson and initiated by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway. The exhibition in Leipzig is organized by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway in cooperation with the gallery of the Academy of Visual Arts (HGB).

Exhibition architecture: Etienne Descloux PE-P
Graphic design: Paul Bowler
Supported by the Goethe-Institut New Dehli


Suman Gopinath is a curator and the founder and director of CoLab Art & Architecture, Bangalore, India Grant Watson is Senior Curator and Research Associate at Iniva, London.

Gopinath and Watson have been collaborating on exhibitions of modern and contemporary Indian art since 1999.

Florian Pumhösl (*1971,Vienna) constructs new referential systems, based on the mediation of avant-gardes graphic, painterly and architectonic tropes. His 16mm films and animations assimilate techniques and motifs of early scientific and abstract experimental filmmaking to constitute original reflections on the cinematic apparatus and its implications. Minimal glass paintings, which reproduce basic geometrical shapes, and films are woven together on an equal level with historical elements in considered exhibition displays. Pumhösl focuses particularly on strategies of appropriation, citation and montage and the research of European, Russian and Japanese art and architecture avant-gardes as the aesthetic equivalent to the mechanization of industrial production.
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