N° 2 2009
April / May
This issue gives a prominent place to two painters: Natasja Kensmil and Tala Madani. Natasja Kensmil – not to be confused with her sister Iris – is based in Amsterdam, where she currently has an exhibition at Galerie Paul Andriesse (through April 25th). For METROPOLIS M, she is responsible for the second edition of CURATED, in which she uses selected images to provide context for her own work. The interview with another painter living in Amsterdam, the young Iranian-American Tala Madani, was sparked by her participation in Unveiled, New Art from the Middle East, an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London that also has not escaped notice in the Netherlands – in NRC Handelsblad and elsewhere she was proclaimed the big discovery of the exhibition.
Two painters in METROPOLIS M: there must be a special reason for this. The articles by Kensmil and about Madani are a contrast with the second part of this issue: the special section, Voice. Painting is the medium of the deep breath, gradual, slow, a victory over death. It professes to be nothing less than the medium for all eternity, ready for the future, with the artist in a hero's role. Performances, on the other hand, epitomize the slipping away of time, provide perspective, are extremely fleeting. If you arrive too late, you're out of luck, nothing is left of the work – especially when it comes to spoken performances, as in this issue. The audiotape, if there is one, is the only thing that remains, but usually as a weak echo of the actual event.
The everlasting versus the momentary, tradition versus the incident: the contrast in this issue is almost classic, and yet, as will be seen, these two so very different artistic media have more in common than is sometimes thought.
Voices are being heard all over in the international art world. First we had speaking about art, the discourse that pops up in all the crooks and crannies and provides art with a continuous voice. Now it is speaking as art.
The Paintings of Tala Madani
29/04/09 Maxine Kopsa
The paintings of Tala Madani (born in Tehran in 1981, currently living in Amsterdam) have been called ‘audacious’, ‘passionate’ and ‘truly independent’. Her work has been picked out in critical reviews of Saatchi’s recent Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East as just plain ‘terrific’. The brushstrokes are compared to the power of a ‘flame-thrower’, while other work in the same show is seen as ‘obvious’, even disappointing. Tala Madani is ‘good because she’s dangerous’, apparently.
21/05/09 Aaron Schuster
Along with Slavoj Žižek, Rasto Mocnik and Alenka Zupančič, the Slovenian philosopher, cultural theorist and expert in psychoanalysis Mladen Dolar comprise the famous School of Psychoanalysis in Ljubljana. Aaron Schuster spoke with him on the locus and significance of the voice, with reference to his intriguing book A Voice and Nothing More.
Who or what is the ‘I’, the ‘I’ which relates to the world, speaking and acting in exchange with an environment? The artist Falke Pisano examines the societal potential of the artist at the fundamental level.
This first column by graphic designer Paul Elliman is about the voice, in a comparison between a world-famous rapper and an at least equally famous castrato.