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In the video animation Stains, Malani used watercolour paint to create forms that appear and disappear in washes of water and pigment. As the artist describes it, these animated figures, “act ambiguously toward each other: loving, hating, killing each other.” The colours and imagery represent blood, skin, bones and body fluids.

A proposal by the artist for a different installation of this work suggests that the video be projected onto the surface of a large latex breast filled with milk and suspended from the ceiling in the centre of the room, although this version has never been realised. In this scenario the milk would appear to wash away the blood-coloured ‘stains’ of the video, pointing to a central interest within Nalini’s practice; the role of women in society as nourishers and as absorbers (but also perpetrators) of violence.

Malani’s formative years were marked by the sense of loss and nostalgia related to her family’s exile from Karachi to Calcutta during the brutal partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947. As such, memory and identity play an important role in her art practice. She writes that “Memory is what you are, past is in the present and in the future. Memory means the collective memory.” Her works often reference violence and underline its cyclical nature.

MediumVideo
Duration8 min
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Donation, 2008
EditionEdition 5/10 + 2 A/P
Item NumberIMMA.2181
On view A Fiction Close to Reality, IMMA Main Galleries, West Wing, 14/02/2019 - 27/09/2019
Tags
Image Caption
Nalini Malani, Stains, 2000, Video, Duration: 8 min, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Donation, 2008

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: info@imma.ie.

About the Artist

Nalini Malani b.1946

Indian artist Nalini Malani trained at the Sir Jamshedjee Jeejeebhoy School of Art, Bombay. Her multi-layered work mixes universal concepts with specific historical and personal details, often referencing female figures from Indian and European traditions. Malani has exhibited internationally since the 1980s. A solo exhibition of her work was presented at IMMA in 2007.
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