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The Los Angeles-based artist Tala Madani’s paintings and animated films address social and political themes such as power structures, group dynamics, and the crisis of masculinity. Mean, cruel, and brutal but also sexually awkward and comical figures populate bizarre pastel-colored sceneries rendered in loosely expressive brushstrokes that are sometimes illuminated by the glare of a spotlight.

 

Madani’s films foreground the narrative aspect that is also present, though in more fragmented form, in her paintings. “The animation guides the viewer from point A to point B of the narrative. And by the moment of seeing the movement the animation can be quite useful to say some different kind of things,” the artist explains.

 

 

Both her paintings and her animated films operate with a visual language that is often grotesquely exaggerated, both drastic and tender, obscene and funny. Madani’s oeuvre posits a world in which primal desires are unrestrained by conventions and social norms, while her works are suffused by light that points both in and outward––at human instinct and upended social ritual.

 

Tala Madani’s art has been on view in numerous solo exhibitions, including, in recent years, at La Panacée, Montpellier (2017); the MIT Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Mass. (2016); the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla, and Nottingham Contemporary (both 2014); the Moderna Museet, Malmö and Stockholm (2013); and the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2011).

 

Her exhibition in the Secession’s main gallery will be her first institutional solo show in Austria.