Tala Madani - HEATWAVE: Online Auction London Wednesday, July 17, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Description

    Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.

  • Provenance

    Pilar Corrias, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘I really laugh when I paint.’ Tala Madani.

    An expansive canvas from Tala Madani’s progressive body of work, The Bubble was painted in 2012, the year preceding the artist’s solo exhibition Rip Image at Moderna Museet Malmö which later toured to Moderna Museet Stockholm, and shortly followed her 2011 show at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam. Celebrated alongside leading contemporary artists at the Whitney Biennal in 2017, Madani’s body of work creates a unique visual space where desires are unfettered, and restrictions are relinquished; the artist depicts largely male protagonists who engage in exaggerated performances, which appear at times sexual, violent or comic. In the present work, the viewer follows the procession of a bald, partially disrobed middle-aged man around the canvas, the artist capturing each stage of his journey to blow a comedic bubble with pink gum. Provoking a humorous response with her uncanny canvasses, Madani’s protagonists are often infantilized and made absurd through their base and degrading behaviours.

    With its black background and spot lit figure, Madani’s intimate composition appears like a stop-motion cartoon in the present work. With her tight application of oil, Madani renders her male figure in the style of a caricature, her composition imbued with theatricality and intense drama through the light cast from an individually angled spotlight. ‘Growing up in Iran, I was watching a lot of Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, and also Disney cartoons like Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and of course Fantasia’, (the artist, quoted in Laura van Straaten, ‘Why You Should Care About Artist Tala Madani,’ Artnet News, 20 July 2016, online). Alongside incorporating visual references from cinema and pop culture, the impact of political cartoons and historical cartoonists such as William Hogarth and Honoré Daumier are cited by the artist as influences in her practice (Alex Greenberger, ‘Desires Unrestrained: Tala Madani Takes Irrepressibility to the Whitney Biennial,’ ARTNEWS, 13 March 2017, online). Often depicting visceral subject matter, Madani’s treatment of violence and sexuality continues a painterly dialogue with the psychological canvasses of Philip Guston and the lewd sexual content of Paul McCarthy’s sculpture and photography. Commenting on how her canvasses can at times make her laugh when she creates them, the artist remarks on how this is a reactionary offshoot to the uncomfortable subject matter in her painterly microcosms, stating, ‘Clowns can be dead serious while trying to make you laugh at something … It’s serious stuff that’s been processed through humor’, (the artist, quoted in Alex Greenberger, ‘Desires Unrestrained: Tala Madani Takes Irrepressibility to the Whitney Biennial,’ ARTNEWS, 13 March 2017, online).


The Bubble

signed and dated 'Tala Madani 2012' on the overlap
oil on linen
203.3 x 203.4 cm (80 x 80 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2012.

£30,000 - 40,000 

Sold for £47,500

Contact Specialist
Charlotte Gibbs
Head of Sale
+44 20 7901 7993

HEATWAVE: Online Auction

Online Auction 17 - 26 July 2019