Nasreen at her studio in Bombay at the Bhulabhai Desai Institute
Nasreen at her studio in Bombay at the Bhulabhai Desai Institute Dated 2 Nov 1960
Photograph 4.2 x 6.2 in

Tate Liverpool
6 June –5 October 2014 (Press preview: Wednesday 4 June 2014)
£10.00 / £7.50

Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi (1937–1990) is considered to be one of the most significant artists within the modernist tradition. Presenting over 50 works, Nasreen Mohamedi will be the largest solo exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK to date.

Born in Karachi and raised in Mumbai, Mohamedi studied art atCentral Saint Martin’s in London (1954–57) and worked in an atelier inParis (1961–63) before returning to India. Mohamedi moved to Baroda in the early 1970s where she became a teacher in the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University, working alongside many notable artists of the time. It was in Baroda that Mohamedi began to produce small-scale, abstract geometric drawings, painstakingly composed using pencil and pen. Virtually alone amongst her peers in India, who favoured a figurative narrative style, Mohamedi’s lineage can be traced back to an earlier generation of Indian artists engaged with abstraction, such as V. S. Gaitonde. Mohamedi lived and worked in Baroda till her death in 1990.

Nasreen Mohamedi will chart the development of Mohamedi’s abstraction, revealing possible relationships between the artist’s works and her perception of the world. Significant phases of Mohamedi’s practice will be highlighted; from semi-abstract lyrical paintings of the 1960s, to drawings of suspended diagonal lines, triangles and spheres from the late 1980s, as well as her notable photographic practice. Mohamedi consistently produced photographs as a visual record of her experiences, capturing images of desert landscapes and seascapes, modern architectural buildings, and the Islamic architecture of Fatehpur Sikri.

Bringing archival material, drawing, photography and painting together will reflect how Mohamedi gradually departed from symbols and markers in the external world to re-vision line interactions and three dimensional space. Through Mohamedi’s desire to obtain ‘the maximum of the minimum’, and ‘the limitless of limits’, the work encourages a reconsideration of the meaning of abstraction, where the departure from a figurative style, runs in parallel with a  journey away from physical objects and into the realm of ideas.

Despite comparisons drawn with American artists such as Agnes Martin and Carl Andre, or with the utopian abstraction of Kazimir Malevich whom she greatly admired, Mohamedi’s work defies categorisation. The result of a disciplined and continuous effort to craft a singular vocabulary, Mohamedi’s work remains without parallel, the product of her distinctive personality, process, and aesthetic values. 

Nasreen Mohamedi is curated by Eleanor Clayton, Tate Liverpool, and Suman Gopinath, an independent curator.

Notes to Editor

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