Meher Monali - Between the Familiar/Unfamiliar (1/2)

2 C-prints - 55 x 80 cm

Monali Meher. Since 1998 Meher’s art practice involves various disciplines. The most significant one is ‘Performance Art’. Decay, hybridization & transformation: Creating new identity; reshaping belongings; intimacy; a dialogue of matter and memory all these constitute the language of her work. ‘Time’ as a factor, is central to her practice, whether it’s a wrapped object or a performance. She uses time as medium, which is extended, assembled and captured. The aspects of continuity, repetition, vulnerability, duration, temporality, awareness, situation and public involvement are also inherent qualities that inform her art practice. The process before and after the performance is equally important and challenging. Meher graduated in Fine Arts from Sir J. J. School of arts, Mumbai. She received ‘Unesco -Aschberg’ residency in Vienna 1998, Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten 2000-‘01, Amsterdam and ‘Casa Masaccio’ San Giovanni Valdarno, Tuscany, Italy 2012. She performed and exhibited her work internationally; at Tate modern, Sinop Biennale Turkey, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Khoj Live New Delhi, DaDao Beijing, Art Dubai, ‘Rebelle’, MMKA Arnhem, NRLA Glasgow, bLA Amsterdam, Prague Biennale 5th, MAXXI museum Rome, Guangzhou Live 11 China, Infr’action Sete, France, LA 7 Gothenburg Sweden, IPA Istanbul modern museum, 4th Thessaloniki Biennale, University UFO & Sustainability 2014, Ghent, Belgium, Venice International experimental cinema and performance art festival, Bochum kunstmuseum Germany and ICASTICA ’13, Arezzo Biennial, Italy where she received the prestigious ‘Golden Chimera Award’ for the innovation and originality. Meher received LIVE Funds 2009 by BKVB Amsterdam. In 2011 she manifested ‘The Bridge Is Open’, public Space installation under Willem’s bridge, Haarlemmerpoort, Amsterdam; funded by Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst, Fonds BKVB, Co-operated by DIVV, DOCK Stadsdeel West. Since year 2000 Meher lives and works in Amsterdam NL. Artist statement I transform the nature of manner in which materials react, what shape or smell they produce, what impact they make on my viewers and how the space around my art and audience gets transformed. This aspect of ‘conversion in character’ reflects a strong metamorphosis of my personal identity as a Diaspora artist. I elaborate a philosophical exploration of human- living, to point out its process of constructing, through the antithetical notions of private/ collective memory, feeling of longing/ belonging, intimacy/ conflict and familiarity/ unfamiliarity. I try to merge these processes into my work, where the viewer gets a notion of time through a process of dilation and re-connection. No matter which artistic medium I employ, I want to embody the same breath of life, while introducing the viewer to a deep, paradoxical – even intellectual – reading of the world. I play with senses and time processes to create luminal connections between outer tangible worlds and inner invisible ones. Most of my works are site specific, created in different places over a certain period of time. They reflect the journey of my life and performances as therapeutic actions during those particular moments of my existence. Through these manifestations, I deconstruct the narratives related to them and set a new challenge for experience, understanding and research. My art is usually time based and often reveals the process of creation. According to sites and the situations, my choices of materials differ to reveal the hybridization of various elements from both my cultures; presently European and originally Indian. ‘Time’ as a factor, is central to my practice, whether it’s a wrapped object or a performance. I use time as medium, which is extended, assembled and captured. Elements of the past, as a quantity of time are of extreme significance. To be able to record and replay time frames and juxtapose real time with mediated time is a vital aspect of my works. My art witnesses my quest for defining time’s trace, territory and extensions into the real world. Beyond this, I draw an ontological thought of time influencing human essence and evolution; where in time and reality’s entanglement appears similar to the one of the mind and the body. Two different spaces interact in a self-reflecting process of transit, change and affected repetition. My use of natural and ephemeral ingredients results in a process of perishing and transitory moment of the time. This is utter, thus unavoidable and deliberate. Such assemblages and installations are temporary structures in the time and space created within the durational act, ‘performance’. Since 1998 my art practice has involved various disciplines; the most significant one being ‘Performance Art’. It became a necessity for me to use my body, voice and emotions in the space with the immediacy of environmental, social and political aspects. My performances are atmospheric, sometimes ritualistic and frequently involve props of various natures. They show the cyclical circles of destruction and renewal, as well as formal and conceptual ideas within the framework of personal references that inform the fragile divide between my life and art. Decay, hybridization and transformation; creating new identities; reshaping belongings; intimacy; a dialogue of matter and memory – all these constitute the language of my work. Further, the aspects of continuity, repetition, vulnerability, duration, temporality, awareness, situation and public involvement are also inherent qualities that inform my art practice. The working process before and after the performance is equally important and challenging, resulting into video registration, images or another form of art using fragments and traces of the experience. Drawings for me are like autobiographical diagrams. They are a vital part of my practice along with the wrapped personal objects with red wool, which is a series I have been working on for a long time. I started wrapping objects in 2005 transforming, giving them new skin with the aim to make emotions emerge from them, thereby restoring the personal memory attached to it. Wrapping, in the sense of packing, symbolizes moving from a place, transition and transformation. This body of work extended from personal objects to the properties of public spaces, where the durational experience of wrapping and unwrapping is significant. This goes back to connect with my performances, thereby creating an inverse cycle to connect the various mediums I practice with. Although my works reflect my personal life, they also indicate a global truth hidden in them, which make them a collective, universal in nature.

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