Flowers, 2008, oil on linen, 11.75 x 11.75 inches
Table Trouble, 2008, oil on wood, 9.6 x 11. 8 inches
Man in Cape, 2008, oil on linen, 15. 7 x 19.7 inches
Finding Zebra, 2008, oil on linene, 15. 7 x 19 .7 inches
Nosefall, 2007, oil on linen, 210 x 190 cm
Pose, 2006, oil on canvas, 31 x 31 cm
Ice Cream, 2008, oil on canvas, 195 x 240 cm
We Spot You, 2008, oil on linen, 19.7 x 21.6 inches
Men R Hot With Fire, 2010, oil on wood, 11 x 14 inches
Reverse Alphabet, 2009, spray paint and oil on canvas,75 x 90 inches
I always like to be quite vague when I talk about my work because I think the more you talk about something the less you see it. We’re so comfortable with language and words, and visual language has its own rules — to decode it, people always gravitate to a text, or an interview, or whatever is on record that can be used to quickly understand the work, instead of spending time with it themselves.
About Tala Madani
Born in 1981 in Tehran, Tala Madani lives and works in New York and Amsterdam, yet her work continues to draw on Iranian society. After receiving a BA in Political Science and a BFA in Visual Arts from Oregon State University, she received her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2006.
Madani’s richly exuberant paintings are witty fusions of the political with the personal and evoke Abstract Expressionism, political cartooning, and Persian miniatures, through their mixing of formal and narrative styles. Pain, inflicted by others or sometimes self-inflicted, religion, extremism and “the unbearable lightness of sacrifice” are the driving forces behind Madani’s powerful images.
Initially alienating paintings, even Madani’s most legible scenarios are unruly and mysterious. Men are her exclusive subjects, and she mercilessly depicts their vulnerability, holding them hostage with her compositions. From a woman’s perspective, there is some relief in turning the often-subliminal perception of the male point of view as a gender-neutral one against itself. In this way, her antagonism is quite funny. Humor is as palpable as violence, and it rescues her work from being read as a dogmatic (Western) feminist manifesto.
Tala Madani’s provocative and exuberant paintings meld the political with the personal to focus on issues of sexual and cultural identity. Men, in particular, are her recurrent subjects. She depicts them with cartoon-like, almost surreal exaggeration, presenting a world as infantile as it is sadistic. Birthday parties, personal grooming sessions and other occasions for male bonding spiral down into bizarre scenarios in which men ritually abuse, humiliate and degrade one another.