Tala Madani (b. 1981, Tehran, Iran) makes paintings and animations whose indelible images bring together wide-ranging modes of critique, prompting reflection on gender, political authority, and questions of who and what gets represented in art. Her work is populated by mostly naked, bald, middle-aged men engaged in acts that push their bodies to their limits. Bodily fluids and beams of light emerge from their orifices, generating metaphors for the tactile expressivity of paint. In Madani’s work, slapstick humor is inseparable from violence and creation is synonymous with destruction, reflecting a complex and gut-level vision of contemporary power imbalances of all kinds. Her approach to figuration combines the radical morphology of a modernist with a contemporary sense of sequencing, movement, and speed. Thus her work finds some of its most powerful echoes in cartoons, cinema, and other popular durational forms.
Tala Madani has been the subject of solo exhibitions at a number of museums worldwide, including La Panacée, Montpellier, France (2017); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2016); Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2016); Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, Spain (2014); Nottingham Contemporary, England (2014); and Moderna Museet, Malmö and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2013). She was recently included in the Whitney Biennial (2017); The Great Acceleration: Art in the Anthropocene, Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2014); Made in L.A. 2014, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); and Where are we Now?, 5th Marrakech Biennale (2014), among many other international group exhibitions. Madani’s work forms part of the permanent collections of institutions that include Moderna Museet, Stockholm and Malmö, Sweden; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Serralves Foundation, Porto, Portugal; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Modern, London; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. She lives and works in Los Angeles.