Ocula MagazineContentsView All
Featured ContentView All
Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible Ocula Report Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible 17 Apr 2019 : Federica Bueti for Ocula

I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...

Read More
Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui Ocula Conversation Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui

The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...

Read More
The National 2019: New Australian Art Ocula Report The National 2019: New Australian Art 13 Apr 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...

Read More

Bani Abidi

b. 1971, Pakistan

Bani Abidi was born in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1971. She studied painting and printmaking, earning a BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, in 1994. She later attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, earning an MFA in 1999. She completed residencies with the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine (2000), Fukuoka Art Exchange Program, Japan (2005), and DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program (2011–12). Her early engagement with video, beginning at the Art Institute, led to the incorporation of performance and photography into her work. These mediums have provided Abidi with potent, sometimes subversive means to address problems of nationalism—specifically those surrounding the Indian-Pakistani conflict and the violent legacy of the 1947 partition dividing the two countries—and their uneven representation in the mass media. She is particularly interested in how these issues affect everyday life and individual experience.

One of Abidi’s earliest videos, Mangoes (1999), reveals her barbed sense of humor. Two women—one Indian, one Pakistani, both played by the artist—eat mangoes and reminisce about their childhoods. Soon, however, their amiable chatter escalates into competitive boasting about the fruit grown in their respective homelands, which they reference from memory as expatriates. The artist uses a similar tactic in the two-channel video The News (2001). Here, a Pakistani and an Indian newscaster, again both performed by Abidi, issue divergent reports of the same event, based on a familiar joke. In addition to video, Abidi also works with photography, digital imaging, and installation. For Karachi—Series 1 (2009), she photographed non-Muslim Pakistanis in the street at dusk during the holy month of Ramadan, when the metropolis is quiet as Muslims sit down to break their fast. Abidi renders visible the Hindu and Christian minorities, which together constitute less than five per cent of the population, acknowledging that the city is their home too by inviting them to carry out mundane domestic activities—reading a newspaper, ironing, arranging flowers—in public space. These are ambivalent portraits, each labeled with the subject’s name, time, and date, as if they were documents of surveillance. The figures are shot from behind at a wide angle, the light of the setting sun heightening the oddity of their interpolation into the streetscape—as does the images’ lightbox presentation. But while politics and cultural critique pervade Abidi’s oeuvre, aesthetics remain her primary concern; these works may act as catalysts, but the responsibility for real change ultimately resides with the viewer.

Solo exhibitions of Abidi’s work have been presented at V. M. Art Gallery, Karachi (2006 and 2010); Oberwelt, Stuttgart (2006); Gallery TPW, Toronto (2007); Gallery SKE, Bangalore (2008); Green Cardamom, London (2008 and 2010); Project 88, Mumbai (2010); Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, United Kingdom (2011); and Experimenter, Kolkata (2012–13). Important group exhibitions include: Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial (2005); Thermocline of Art: New Asian Waves, ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (2007); Annual Report: A Year in Exhibitions, Gwangju Biennial, South Korea (2008); Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan, Asia Society, New York (2009); The Spectacle of the Everyday, Lyon Biennial, France (2009); Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, and Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2010); The Global Contemporary: Art Worlds After 1989, ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (2011); Making Normative Orders: Demonstrations of Power, Doubt and Protest, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt (2012); and Documenta 13 (2012). Abidi lives and works between Karachi and New Delhi.

Source: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Read More

Featured Artworks

Memorial to Lost Words by Bani Abidi contemporary artwork Bani AbidiMemorial to Lost Words, 2017–2018 Sound and sculptural installation, 8 channel audio, 25 marble slabs with engraved text, installation dimensions variable
Experimenter

Represented By

In Related Press

“I Wish to Let You Fall Out of My Hands (Chapter I)”: Bangladeshi filmmaker Naeem Mohaiemen and Pakistani artist Bani Abidi – in conversation Related Press “I Wish to Let You Fall Out of My Hands (Chapter I)”: Bangladeshi filmmaker Naeem Mohaiemen and Pakistani artist Bani Abidi – in conversation Art Radar : 26 February 2018

I wish to let you fall out of my hands (Chapter I) at Experimenter presents the works of Bangladeshi visual artist, writer and filmmaker Naeem Mohaiemen and Pakistani artist Bani Abidi in an exhibition that seeks to decode the meanings behind structures. The artists use film and photography to explore the complexity of peoples' relationships with...

Read More
'Enactments and each passing day': South Asian moving image art at Kiran Nader Museum of Art Related Press 'Enactments and each passing day': South Asian moving image art at Kiran Nader Museum of Art Art Radar Journal : 17 November 2016

The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) has come up with their first exhibition Enactments and each passing day: An exhibition of moving images solely dedicated to the challenging and powerful medium of video art. A compilation of works by 15 contemporary artists ranging from young and dynamic practitioners like Shilpa Gupta, Rohini Devasher and...

Read More
'The Man Who Clapped for 97 hours': Pakistani artist Bani Abidi - interview Related Press 'The Man Who Clapped for 97 hours': Pakistani artist Bani Abidi - interview Art Radar : 19 February 2016

Pakistani artist Bani Abidi’s second solo exhibition at Experimenter, Kolkata, opened on 15 January and is running until 27 February 2016. The artist talks about her practice, based on her belief that “Life is infinitely more interesting than the best of what art can conjure up”, as she tells Art Radar in an exclusive interview.

Read More

Sign up to be notified when new artworks and exhibitions by Bani Abidi are added to Ocula.

WeChat

Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.

iCal GoogleYahooOutlook