Nasreen Mohamedi

Nasreen Mohamedi

Office for Contemporary Art Norway

Nasreen Mohamedi
Undated, drawing, 38 x 50,5cm
Courtesy the Glenbarra Art Museum Collection, Japan

February 28, 2009

Nasreen Mohamedi
Notes: Reflections on Indian Modernism (Part 1)

6 March – 20 June 2009

Guest curators:
Suman Gopinath and Grant Watson

Nedre gate 7 | 0551 Oslo | Norway
tel +47 23 23 31 50 | info [​at​]

Public Opening: 5 March 18:00 – 20.00

Press Preview: 5 March 14:00 – 16:00

Public Programe:

Friday, 6 March 2009 / 19:00 – 21:00: ‘Form, Politics, Spectatorship: Documenta 12 as a Case Study’

Saturday, 7 March 2009 / 14:00 – 17:00 : ‘Nasreen Mohamedi: The Legacy of Indian Abstraction’

The Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) announces the first solo exhibition in Europe of Nasreen Mohamedi, as part of a wider programme tracing alternative modernisms. Mohamedi (1937–1990) 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.

Mohamedi’s austere, small-scale drawings and use of minor gestures contrasted with the figurative narrative works produced by many of her contemporaries. 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.

This exhibition, curated by Suman Gopinath and Grant Watson, will bring together for the first time Mohamedi’s rarely seen drawings, paintings and photographs with unique archival material from her studio, and provide the occasion to further position her practice both within the history of Indian art and in relation to an international avant-garde. “Nasreen Mohamedi: Notes – Reflections on Indian Modernism (Part 1)” is part of a comprehensive programme of public projects and residencies organised by Gopinath and Watson for OCA and CoLab Art & Architecture, Bangalore, India.

Suman Gopinath is a curator and the founder and director of CoLab Art & Architecture, Bangalore, India. Grant Watson is a curator at the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (MuHKA), Antwerp, Belgium. Gopinath and Watson, together with Anshuman Dasgupta, organised the exhibition ‘The Santhal Family: Positions around an Indian Sculpture’ at MuHKA in 2008. Gopinath and Watson have been collaborating on exhibitions of modern and contemporary Indian art since 1999.

About Public Programme:

‘Form, Politics, Spectatorship: Documenta 12 as a Case Study’

Friday, 6 March 2009 / 19:00 – 21:00

This panel will focus on documenta 12 (Kassel, Germany, 2007), an exhibition that constituted an important example of how display strategies affect the experience of artworks, and included artists such as Charlotte Posenenske, Sanja Ivekovic and Nasreen Mohamedi. The panel, which will include the two curators of the exhibition, Ruth Noack and Roger M. Buergel, will discuss the relationship between written discourse and the exhibition of works; the notion of form and its relation to the political legacy of constructivism; and the possibility of education within an exhibition context. Other participants will include Michael Leja, Professor of art history at the University of Pennsylvania and recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2008), Peter Osborne, Professor of modern European philosophy and director of the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex University, London, UK and Suely Rolnik, psychoanalyst, critic and curator based in São Paulo, Brazil

‘Nasreen Mohamedi: The Legacy of Indian Abstraction’

Saturday, 7 March 2009 / 14:00 – 17:00

Speakers including artists, curators and art historians will explore Nasreen Mohamedi’s work in detail and reflect on her position within the history of Indian Modernism, as well as in the context international avant-garde movements, and examine the possibility of rewriting art history from a non-Western perspective. Participants will include Deepak Ananth, art historian, curator and lecturer at the École des Beaux-Arts, Caen, France, Rasheed Araeen, artist, writer, curator and founding editor of Third Text, London, UK, Anita Dube, artist, art historian and critic based in Delhi, India, Ruth Noack, art historian, lecturer, critic and curator of documenta 12, Suely Rolnik, psychoanalyst, critic and curator based in São Paulo, Brazil and Daniel J. Rycroft, art historian at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

About OCA:
The Office for Contemporary Art Norway is a non-profit organisation founded by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, with the aim to develop collaborations in contemporary art between Norway and the international art scene. This programme has been supported by O3-funds as underwritten by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

For more information on the exhibition, the panel discussion or the overall project, please contact or Suzana Martins at

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Office for Contemporary Art Norway
February 28, 2009

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