For the blind man… and Nasreen Mohamedi

For the blind man… and Nasreen Mohamedi


Patrick van Caeckenbergh
Chapeau!, 1988-1989
Courtesy the artist and Zeno X, Antwerp

May 18, 2010

For the blind man in the dark room looking for the black cat that isn’t there

Nasreen Mohamedi: Notes. Reflections on Indian Modernism

29 May – 29 August 2010

Opening: 28 May, 10 pm
Edifício Sede da Caixa Geral de Depósitos
Rua Arco do Cego
1000-300 Lisbon, Portugal
culturgest [​at​]


Culturgest is pleased to present two new exhibitions, running in Lisbon until 29 August: the group show For the blind man in the dark room looking for the black cat that isn’t there and the survey exhibition Nasreen Mohamedi: Notes. Reflections on Indian Modernism.

Our story begins in Ancient Greece, with Socrates announcing, “I know that I know nothing.” Clearly, confusion has always been at the heart of wisdom. Centuries later comes a statement many have attributed to Charles Darwin: “A mathematician is like a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn’t there.” As a scientist committed to cataloguing, explaining, and drawing a clear picture of nature, Darwin mocked the mathematician’s inability to describe the physical world in anything but abstract and speculative terms. But artists also understand the world in speculative terms. With their help, we can learn to enjoy the experience of not-knowing and the playfulness of being in the dark.

For the blind man… celebrates the speculative nature of knowledge and proposes that curiosity matters more than understanding. While the artists featured in the exhibition all share our common urge to understand the world, they are also eager to keep art separate from explanation. As speculations, the works on view each allude to a search for knowledge, while insisting that art is not a code that needs cracking. Embodying a spirit of playful non-knowledge, unlearning, and productive confusion, For the blind man… is dedicated to the inquisitive mind and to the pleasures of finding our way in the dark.

Participating artists: Anonymous, Dave Hullfish Bailey, Marcel Broodthaers, Sarah Crowner, Mariana Castillo Deball, Eric Duyckaerts, Ayşe Erkmen, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Rachel Harrison, Giorgio Morandi, Matt Mullican, Bruno Munari, Nashashibi/Skaer, Falke Pisano, Jimmy Raskin, Frances Stark, Rosemarie Trockel, Patrick van Caeckenbergh, David William.
Curated by Anthony Huberman, this exhibition is organised by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis in collaboration with Culturgest, de appel art centre in Amsterdam, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit. For the blind man… is accompanied by a book conceived, edited, and designed by Will Holder, and co-published by Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and Culturgest.

Lecture / performance by Matt Mullican
Thursday 27 May, 7 pm, Auditorium, School of Fine-Arts, Lisbon

I know that I know nothing – Lecture by Anthony Huberman
Saturday 29 May, 6.30 pm, Small auditorium, Culturgest

2 Rimbaud Paradoxes, The New Utopia By Barthes And An Unforgettable Misfire by Raskin – A presentation by Jimmy Raskin
Sunday 30 May, 5 pm, Small auditorium, Culturgest

Nasreen Mohamedi (Karachi, 1937–Baroda, 1990) is regarded as one of the most important Indian artists of her generation, and her paintings, drawings and photographs, produced from the early 1960s to the late 1980s, constitute a key body of work within the modernist canon.

In art-historical terms, Mohamedi’s practice can be seen in relation to an earlier generation of Indian abstract artists such as V.S. Gaitonde, and from an international perspective to works on paper by Agnes Martin or, through its invocation of utopian abstraction, to Kazimir Malevich and the Suprematists. While her drawings from the late 1970s onwards tend toward the resolutely abstract, they intimate cultural references which become explicit in her photographs – in which historical architecture suggests an aesthetic link to both modernisation and an Islamic heritage. In Mohamedi’s diaries, made over a period of thirty years, textual and graphic interventions also attest to the close links between her inner life and her practice as an artist.

This exhibition brings together for the first time Mohamedi’s rarely seen drawings, paintings and photographs with unique archival material from her studio, and provides the occasion to further position her practice both within the history of Indian art and in relation to an international avant-garde. It is the first solo exhibition in Europe of Nasreen Mohamedi and one of the first international solo presentations of her work.

Curated by Suman Gopinath and Grant Watson, Nasreen Mohamedi: Notes is initiated by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway. It has since then been presented at Lunds Konsthall in Sueden, Milton Keynes Gallery in the United Kingdon, and Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland. The exhibition is organised by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway, this time in collaboration with Culturgest.

Guided tour by Suman Gopinath and Grant Watson
Saturday, 29 May, 4.30 pm, Culturgest


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May 18, 2010

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