Room 1: Grids Explored

Nasreen Mohamedi, Untitled

Nasreen Mohamedi, Untitled
© Glenbarra Art Museum

In 1972, Mohamedi moved to Baroda to teach at the prestigious Maharaja Sayajirao University. Her colleagues there included many notable artists of the time who all made figurative work. This move for Mohamedi, however, seems to have coincided with her completely abandoning any overt references to the external world, instead adopting a grid-like structure within her work. It was in Baroda that she set up her most noted studio, a monk-like monochromatic space with a grey stone-tiled floor which she ritualistically cleaned every day before working. 

The lengths of her aesthetic principles are recalled by her friends, who also remember her sitting cross-legged on the floor of her studio before an architects’ table, bow-pen in hand, meticulously producing serial works based on the grid on square sheets of paper. Mohamedi’s line, weaving in and out of the structure to create a shifting lattice, relate to both mechanical production and traditional hand-crafts of India. Often compared to the contemporaneous work of western Minimalists such as Carl Andre and Agnes Martin, whose work she became aware of only later, these works flatten space to create a world confined in two dimensions.