Nalini Malani: Can You Hear Me?

Whitechapel Gallery

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Emily Butler and Ines Costa
Whitechapel Gallery
Publication date:
Widely considered the pioneer of video art in India, Nalini Malani (b.1946, Karachi) has a fifty-year multimedia practice that includes film, photography, painting, wall drawing, erasure performance, theatre and animation. Embodying the role of artist as social activist, Malani gives voice to the marginalised through her visual stories. She draws inspiration from history, culture and her direct experience of the Partition of India to look at themes of violence, feminism, politics, racial tension and social inequality, exploring in particular the repressive powers of the state. Her signature works take the form of monumental multi-layered immersive installations called 'video shadow plays', consisting of rotating painted transparent cylinders and projections.

Can You Hear Me? is an immersive installation or 'animation chamber', a projection of hand-drawn images, and fragments of text from the artist's digital notebooks which create an effect of moving graffiti on the brick walls of the gallery space. This comprehensively-illustrated catalogue includes brand new photography of the commission, plus essays by the curators and by Nalini Malani herself on the theme of subversion.