Vision In Motion Visual Art Exhibition Of Nalini Malani
May 11, 2023
-Harry S. Truman
During our visit to Asia's First Global Museum - M+ in May last year, there was an animation chamber that would make anyone realize things about war, politics, economics, and social injustice - the Vision in Motion. It was the last exhibition room we visited after visiting the other parts of the museum. They said, save the best for last, indeed it is true. Because among all parts we visited, this was my favorite, as if we saves the best for last.
I retrieved a small part of the videos I took in this chamber, you can watched it here. Supposed to be posted on 3Speak, but it slipped my mind.
This animation chamber was exclusively made for the artworks of a famous Indian contemporary artist, Nalini Malani. She is among those first-generation video artists in India and is globally recognized for her iconic mixed media artworks, and reverse paintings. Recently, she also dived into digital animation.
Her Vision in Motion exhibition in M+ started a month after opening the museum in November 2021 that will last until September this year. The museum offered free entrance during its first year from the opening date, and that gave us a chance to visit the museum for free and saw immersive and iconic artworks of different renowned artists from all parts of the world.
Inside this chamber are different video installations, projections, and reverse paintings illustrating different artworks of Malani projected onto the facades of the chamber. Her exhibition is more like an expression of her early stories and trauma as a refugee shown artistically to address collective issues of social injustice.
There are three main objects on display in this exhibition.
1. Remembering Mad Meg
Remembering Mad Meg is a project of Nalani that illustrates mythical and historical stories of different female figures from the different parts of the world, and Mad Meg is just one of them. She's a fearless leader of a group of women that leads their way to the gates of hell.
As we entered the chamber, we were welcomed by eight reverse-painted cylinders rotating synchronously and hung overhead. On both sides were projection installations.
Moving shadows from the painted cylinders are projected on the facades with some sound effects and woman's moans and voices.
2. Can you hear me?
Walking into the innermost part of the chamber, different graffiti, distorted images, jerky handwriting, Nalini's notes, and other hand-drawn artworks of Nalini are projected onto the wide facade.
There were long wooden benches in front of the wall making it like you are watching in a theatre. On some occasions, there were quotes from known personalities appeared on the wall.
If you zoom out on this photo below, you would see some quotes in those distorted images.
For instance, this passage on the wall in the photo below is from Bertolt Brecht, an influential German poet, dramatist, and stage director.
"The worst illiterate is the political illiterate. He hears nothing, sees nothing, and takes no part in political life. He doesn't seem to know that the cost of living, the price of beans, of flour, of rent, of medicines all, depend on political decisions. He even prides himself on his political ignorance, sticks out his chest, and says he hates politics. He doesn't know, the imbecile, that from his political non-participation comes the prostitute, the abandoned child, the robber, and, worst of all, corrupt officials, the lackeys of exploitative multinational corporations."
The sound effects are tense that can be scary. At some point, there was a screaming sound of a woman being abused. It was terrifying and I could imagine the scene behind those screams.
It seemed that this part of the art exhibition illustrates terrifying trauma, political and social injustice, and abuse in Nalini's own artistic way.
The last object on display was Utopia. However, I failed to take photos of the projected art exhibition since everyone was told to go out as the museum was already closing. Based on what I read about it, Utopia is a film transferred to a digital video about the utopian ambition of the post-colonial modernization project.
Before we stepped out of the place, we told the in-charge staff to take a photo for us. The two of us were the very last group to exit. You can see the empty chamber behind us.
It was a great decision to enter the chamber and witnessed the outstanding artwork of a renowned artist. Moreover, since September last year, the museum entrance isn't free anymore and visitors have to pay a certain amount to explore the whole museum. That include the online booking prior to visiting the place. There'll be more stories about other parts of the museum that will be shared soon. So stay tuned!
Thanks for stopping by.
(All photos are mine)
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