Born in Tehran in 1981, Tala Madani is one of the most engaging painters of her generation. Madani’s work is characterised by loose expressive brushwork rendered in a bold, distinctive palette. Rich in narrative and heavy in irony Madani’s paintings depict darkly comic mise-en-scénes. Whilst her more abstract large-scale works usually contain a mass, group or collective, Madani’s more descriptive and intimately scaled paintings, and painterly video animations, depict uncomfortable scenes in which bald, middle-aged men engage in absurd scenarios that fuse playfulness with violence and perversity.
Whilst the figures imagined are stereotypical and loaded with associations, the activities in which they are engaged are strange and absurd. Through her distinctive painting technique, Madani imbues recurring symbols and imagery with a complexity that cannot be reduced to any single reading. Products of curiosity, fantasy, and desire, Madani’s paintings provoke a cacophony of interpretation that exceeds mere commentary. As such they exist as ‘vignettes for experimentation’, as powerful meditations on the tension between the stereotypical and the iconic.
After receiving her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2006, Madani made her solo debut in 2007. Recent solo exhibitions include: Tala Madani, La Panacée, Montpellier (2017); Shitty Disco, Pilar Corrias Gallery, London (2016); First Light, organised in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (curated by Henriette Huldisch, Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center, and Kelly Shindler, Associate Curator, CAM St. Louis), MIT Visual Arts Center, Cambridge (2016); Smiley has no nose, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles (2015); Tala Madani, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville (2014); Tala Madani: Abstract Pussy, Pilar Corrias, London (2014); Tala Madani, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham (2014); Rip Image, Moderna Museet Malmö & Stockholm (2013); The Jinn, Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2011); Manual Man, Pilar Corrias, London (2011). Current and recent group exhibitions include: (X) A Fantasy, David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2017); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2017); Hope and Hazard: A Comedy of Eros (Curated by Eric Fischl), Hall Art Foundation, New York (2017); Made Masculine, Museum of Art at the University of New Hampshire, New Hampshire (2017); First Person Plural (Curated by Matteo Lucchetti), Utretch (2017); National Gallery of Victoria Triennial, Melbourne (2017); Please Fasten Your Seatbelt as We Are Experincing Some Turbulence, Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai (2017); Los Angeles – A Fiction, Musée d’art Contemporain de Lyon, Lyon (2017); Zeitgeist, MAMCO, Geneva (2017); In Between, Mana Contemporary, New Jersey (2017); On Space and Place: Contemporary Art from Chicago, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Vancouver, De Paul Art Museum, Chicago (2016); Mixtape 2016, Pilar Corrias, London (2016); The Distance of a Day, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2016); Invisible Adversaries, The Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson (2016); Inside Out, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich (2016); Alfred Jarry Archipelago: La Valse des Pantins – Acte II, La Ferme du Buisson, Noisiel (2015); The Great Acceleration: Art in the Anthropocene, Taipei Biennial (curated by Nicholas Bourriaud), Taipei (2014); Made in L.A. 2014, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); Where are we Now?, 5th Marrakech Biennale, Marrakech (2014); PLAY! Recapturing the Radical Imaginiation, Göteborg Biennial, Göteborg (2013); The Future Generation Art Prize@Venice 2013, Palazzo Contarini Polignac, Venice (2013); New works 13.1, Artpace, San Antonio (2013); No Borders, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol (2013); He disappeared into complete silence; rereading a single artwork by Louise Bourgeois, Museum De Hallen, Amsterdam (2011); Speech Matters, Danish Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venice (2011); The Great New York, P.S. 1 MoMA, New York (2010); 4th Tirana International Contempoary Art Biennial, Tirana (2009); Greater New Younger than Jesus, New Museum, New York (2009).
Madani was awarded the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting (2013), the De Volkskrant Art Award (2012), shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize, Pinchuk Art Centre (2012), the Van den Berch van Heemstede Stichting Fellowship (2008), and the Kees Verwey Fellowship (2007). She was artist in residence at the British School of Rome (2010), and The Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam (2007).
Tala Madani lives and works in Los Angeles.