Could imagination be the only weapon in the war against reality?
Nalini Malani

Nalini Malani’s radically inventive practice spans five decades and is celebrated in this first major Australian survey, exclusive to AGSA. Born in 1946 in Karachi in the year before Partition in the Indian subcontinent, Malani’s own history of displacement as a refugee has foreshadowed her internationally-acclaimed practice.

Literary narratives, epic mythologies and diverse political histories coalesce in the immersive sensorial encounters she creates for audiences. Always ingenious, her art encompasses painting, drawing, installation, projection, film and animation.

Drawing on AGSA’s own substantial holdings of the artist’s work, this exhibition arcs from Malani’s early experimentations in film and photography in 1969, to what she describes as ‘video shadow/plays’ such as Gamepieces, 2003-2020, after which this Australian premiere is named.

Urgent and expansive in her inquiry, Nalini Malani is dedicated to the possibility of change and the power of beauty in uncertain times.

This exhibition contains audio and visual depictions of acts of violence and medical procedures.

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, Can You Hear Me?, 2018-2020, Mumbai, India , 9-channel installation of 88 single channel stop-motion animations, sound, looped, non sync; Gift of an anonymous donor through the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2020, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Nalini Malani.

Can You Hear Me?

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, Dream Houses I, 1969, Bombay (now Mumbai), India, 8mm film animation transferred to video, colour, sound, 2:07 min; Gift of an anonymous donor through the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2020, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Nalini Malani.

Dream Houses

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, Precincts, 1969/2018, Bombay (now Mumbai), India; printed Shanghai, China, digital print from photogram, 112.0 x 95.0 cm; Gift of an anonymous donor through the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2020, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Nalini Malani.

Precincts, Trajectory, Vestige, Flight

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, Untitled I, 1970/2018, Bombay (now Mumbai), India; printed Shanghai, China, digital print from photogram, 112.0 x 95.0 cm; Gift of an anonymous donor through the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2020, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Nalini Malani.

Untitled

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, Mushroom Cloud, 1970/2018, Paris, France; printed Shanghai, China, digital print, 52.0 x 53.0 cm; Gift of an anonymous donor through the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2020, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Nalini Malani.

Mushroom Cloud & Damages Survivors

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, Les Manifestations – Paris, 1970/2018, Paris, France; printed Shanghai, China, two digital prints, 33.0 x 39.5 cm (a), 39.5 x 33.0 cm (b); Gift of an anonymous donor through the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2020, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Nalini Malani.

University of My Life

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, Mutant ll (from 'B' series), 1996, Mumbai, India, fabric dye, chalk and charcoal on milk carton paper mounted on fabric, 193.0 x 147.0 cm; Purchased 1996. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Collection: Queensland Art Gallery l Gallery of Modern Art, © Nalini Malani.

Mutant B

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, The Ecstasy of Radha (from 'Stories Retold' series}, 2002, Mumbai, India, synthetic polymer paint, watercolour and enamel on Mylar, 194.8 x 215.0 cm (Triptych (overall)); Purchased 2002 Queensland Art Gallery Foundation GrantCollection Queensland Art Gallery l Gallery of Modern Art, © Nalini Malani.

Stories Retold

Unity in Diversity

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, Gamepieces, 2003-2020, Mumbai, India, four-channel video installation, 4:3, sound, 12 min, looped, sync, synthetic polymer paint on six Mylar cylinders; James and Diana Ramsay Fund 2020, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Nalini Malani.

Gamepieces

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, In Search of Vanished Blood, 2012, Mumbai, India, single channel digital video, 16:9, colour, sound, 11 min, financial newspapers on 3 walls; On loan from the Artist, © Nalini Malani.

In Search of Vanished Blood

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, City of Desires, 1992, Bombay (now Mumbai), India, single channel video (colour, sound), 17:46 min; Gift of an anonymous donor through the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2020, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Nalini Malani.

City of Desires

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, Medeamaterial, 1993, Bombay (now Mumbai), India, single channel video, colour, sound, 59:36 min; Gift of an anonymous donor through the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2020, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Nalini Malani.

Medeamaterial

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, The Job, 1997, Mumbai, India , single channel video, colour, sound, 29:49 min; Gift of an anonymous donor through the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2020, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Nalini Malani.

The Job