• Monday, August 15, 2022

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Nalini Malani’s exhibition featuring 40-metre animations to open at National Gallery in 2023

It will open in Holbourne Musuem in Bath in October before moving to the capital.

Nalini Malani in front of Jan van der Venne’s The Temptation of St Anthony at the Holburne Museum, Bath (Picture: National Gallery)

By: Shubham Ghosh

AN exhibition of 40-metre animated projections based on pictures from the National Gallery, London, is set to take place later this year.

Twenty-five striking new animations have been designed to immerse the viewer in a panorama of nine big video projections, played on a continuous loop. The projections are based on an idiosyncratic selection from famous paintings in the National Gallery and the Holbourne Musuem, Bath.

The project, titled My Reality is Different, has been created by Nalini Malani, the first artist to receive the National Gallery’s Contemporary Fellowship, and supported by Art Fund.

Nalini Malani, My Reality is Different, 2022
Nalini Malani, My Reality is Different, 2022 (Nalini Malani)

Born in Karachi in present-day Pakistan and a resident of Mumbai, India, Malani is known for her fierce commitment to pushing boundaries and experimenting and exploring the possibilities of the moving image.

The exhibition will open at the National Gallery from March 2 to June 11, 2023. In Holbourne Museum, it will open this October.

Pictures by Caravaggio and Bronzino in the National Gallery’s collection, and by Jan van der Venne and Johann Zoffany in the collection of the Holburne Museum have inspired the animations.

The classical images have been transformed by hand-drawn animations, made using an iPad that reveal and conceal different aspects of the paintings to rediscover them from an alternative and more critical point of view.

By overlapping the nine video projections and showing the animations of different length in a loop without syncing them, Malani has chosen to go beyond the Western linear view. As a result, there is an endless change of juxtapositions and interaction of the images, allowing the spectator to co-create their own meanings.

The title of the exhibition, Nalini Malani: My Reality is Different – National Gallery Contemporary Fellowship with Art Fund, is drawn from a phrase often associated with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass in which the Cheshire Cat is claimed to have said: “I’m not crazy, my reality is different from yours.”

Dr Gabriele Finaldi, director of the National Gallery, said, “Nalini Malani fixes her gaze on paintings from the western canon in the National Gallery and in our partner museum, The Holburne in Bath, to offer a visually striking multi-layered critique of the tradition they represent and many of the assumptions that underpin it.”

Dr Chris Stephens, director of the Holburne Museum, said, “It is a great honour for the Holburne to have been selected as the inaugural partner in the National Gallery’s Contemporary Fellowship programme and to be working with an artist of Nalini Malani’s stature.

“I cannot think of a more appropriate artist to engage with the Holburne’s eclectic collection that is replete with transnational stories and conversations. We are deeply grateful to the National Gallery, Art Fund and, of course, Nalini for this wonderful opportunity.”

Jenny Waldman, Director of Art Fund, said, “Our public collections have an enduring power to inspire, as demonstrated by Nalini Malani’s artistic transformations of greatly loved works from the National Gallery and Holburne Museum. Collaboration between museums is more important than ever post pandemic, and we are delighted that audiences in both Bath and London will be able to enjoy new work by such an exceptional international artist.”

Daniel F Herrmann, National Gallery Curator of Modern and Contemporary Projects, said, “While criticising a Western male hegemony, from the perspective of a Cassandra, Malani’s animation chamber, as she calls this form of art, never sacrifices the beauty and the aesthetics in her all-inspiring alternative new visions of the world. With My Reality is Different, Malani activates Western cultural memory to take a contemporary responsibility by making an unusual form of new art in dialogue with the art of the past.”

The exhibition will run in Bath between October 7, 2022, until January 8, 2023, before moving to the capital.

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