Tala Madani

Tala Madani / b. 1981, Iran / lives and works in Los Angeles


The 5th Ural Biennial Main Project features the work:
“Mr. Time” (Single-channel animation, 2018)
Courtesy of the artist and 303 Gallery, New York


Tala Madani’s work creates figures and narratives that are oftentimes grotesque, violent and obscene but can at the same time be innocent and hilarious. Obliquely referencing the artist’s Iranian-American origins, her work crosses formal and political lines to expose the slipper nature of image creation. She uses an almost child-like visual language to create a sharp commentary on humanity’s complexity.

In her short animation Mr. Time (2018), Madani illustrates with a blunt sense of humor the connection between the phantasm of immortality and the infinitely expandable time constructed by capitalist exploitation. Mr. Time portrays “time” as an absent-minded human figure riding endlessly up and down escalators until a gang of bald-headed men appears and throws him down the escalators repeatedly. Mr. Time starts to be ripped into bloody pieces because of the injuries. Despite its gradual disintegration under the pressure of exterior violence—from his arms and legs breaking off to his ultimate beheading—his body still crawls persistently and does not cease moving forward. No matter how hard we try to stop time, it never stops or wants to stop. To experience the flow and passage of time means to expose the limitation of our consciousness.

Also presented work:
“The Audience” (Single-channel animation, 2018)
Courtesy of the artist and 303 Gallery, New York


This compilation of short animations features jarring subjects of the violent and absurdist vignettes, such as naked men prowling alleyways like feral cats, a giant jellyfish-like penis pounding a crowd to death, and a mob pushing a poor figure down escalators until his body falls to pieces. But Madani does not use provocative imagery to score easy points. With a painterly approach, she delivers brutal thrills, which cut deeply across complex subjects like power, desire, and our cultural appetite for gore, as well as our own obsessions with death.