Reliance Foundation to toast artist Mohamedi in New York

Nasreen MohammediNew York : (IANS) An exhibition of the works of the late Mumbai-based artist Nasreen Mohamedi is being launched at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or simply The Met, here on Tuesday, supported by Nita Ambani-led Reliance Foundation.

The exhibition, which will be open to public from March 18 to June 5, is part of The Met’s new series of modern and contemporary programmes, hosted at the landmark building designed by Hungarian architect Marcel Breuer here.

Sheena Wagstaff, the chair of the Met’s modern and contemporary division, apparently got Nita Ambani interested in the whole project. They are both slated to be here for the grand preview at Manhattan’s Madison Avenue and 75th Street.

“One of our goals with The Met Breuer is to present thoughtful exhibitions that posit a broader meaning of modernism across vast geographies of art,” Wagstaff said.

“The poignant story of Mohamedi, a relatively little-known but significant artist, reveals a highly-individual artistic quest, drawing on historic sources from across the world, alongside her evocative photography as an unexpected form of visual note-taking.”

The Met said the exhibition is being made possible by Nita and Mukesh Ambani and the Reliance Foundation, adding that it is also being co-hosted by the Queen Sofia Museum of Spain and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art.

“One of the most significant artists to emerge in post-Independence India, Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990) created a body of work that demonstrates a singular and sustained engagement with abstraction,” the Met said.

What has come for praise is her minimalist practice, which not only adds a rich layer to the history of South Asian art, but also enrages the scope of the narratives into international modernism.

“The Met Breuer exhibition, the first museum retrospective of the artist’s work in the US, is an important part of the Met’s initiative to explore and present the global scope of modern and contemporary art,” the Met said.

Mohamedi mainly worked with pencil and ink on paper, as also experimenting with organic forms, delicate grids, and dynamic and hard-edged lines — drawing upon a range of aesthetic sensibilities.

Inspirations came from poetry of Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke and French philosopher-author Albert Camus, as also classical music and the modernist architecture of Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh.

Mohamedi is also believed to have had an exposure to Western and Eastern philosophy, poetry and literature, which can be seen in her diaries that include quotes by Rumi, Ghalib, and Mohammad Iqbal.

Having traveled extensively from New York to Tokyo, she also had a cosmopolitan outlook that drew her equally to the 16th-century Mughal buildings of Fatehpur Sikri and the 20th-century modernist architecture  of India.

“Spanning Mohamedi’s entire career and bringing together over 130 paintings, drawings, photographs, and rarely-seen diaries, the exhibition traces the conceptual complexity and visual subtlety of the artist’s oeuvre.”


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