Tunisian art comes to India: Solo exhibition for Berlin-based Tunisian artist Nadia Kaabi-Linke – picture feast

The Kolkata gallery expands its international horizons with a first showing in India of work by Tunisian artist Nadia Kaabi-Linke.

“No one harms me”, a solo exhibition of work by Tunisian-born, Berlin-based artist Nadia Kaabi-Linke, is running from 12 March to 3 May 2013 at Experimenter Gallery, Kolkata. This first foray into North African art reflects the gallery’s increasingly international perspective.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, 'No one harms me Unpunished', 2012, steel brass and thistles, 82 x 60 x 10 in. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, ‘No one harms me Unpunished’, 2012, steel brass and thistles, 82 x 60 x 10 in. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

In “No one harms me”, which borrows its name from the motto of the British Order of the Thistle, Nadia Kaabi-Linke uses documentary sculpture to explore themes of “gender inequality, multiplicity of meaning and form, and deeply layered conflicting emotions”, according to a press release accompanying the exhibition.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, "No one harms me", installation view, 2013. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, “No one harms me”, installation view, 2013. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Experimenter Director Prateek Raja, speaking to Art Radar, explained the gallery’s decision to work with Kaabi-Linke,

The curatorial decision here was to show the work of an artist who is a great fit into Experimenter’s programme. Kaabi-Linke has an excellent oeuvre and a brilliant understanding of material and form. Her works are powerful, and deeply personal, at the same time the issues she deals with are contemporary and reflective of where we are today.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, 'Parkverbot (Looted Art)', 2012, wood, iron, steel, chrome, 36 x78 x 33 in. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, ‘Parkverbot (Looted Art)’, 2012, wood, iron, steel, chrome, 36 x78 x 33 in. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, 'Short Story of Salt and Sun', 2012, wall impression, oil pigment, wax and paper, 90.6 x 55 in. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, ‘Short Story of Salt and Sun’, 2012, wall impression, oil pigment, wax and paper, 90.6 x 55 in. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, 'Torn' (detail), 2013, imprint with inked hair on paper, 15.5 x 11.75 in. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, ‘Torn’ (detail), 2013, imprint with inked hair on paper, 15.5 x 11.75 in. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Exploring violence through art

“No one harms me” includes artworks from Kaabi-Linke’s ongoing project “Impunities”, in which the artist uses forensic techniques to transfer impressions of human scars and wounds onto glass slides. Born during Kaabi-Linke’s 2011 residency at Pump House Gallery, London, the work connects viewers to the realities of domestic violence. The title work of the exhibition also explores violence within the home: No One harms me Unpunished, a thistle-covered double mattress suspended in mid-air, is the artist’s reflection on the oppression of women inherent in patriarchal society.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, 'Impunities', 2012, glass panel installation. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, ‘Impunities’, 2012, glass panel installation. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, 'No one harms me Unpunished' (detail), 2012, steel, brass, thistles, 82 x 60 x 10 in. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, ‘No one harms me Unpunished’ (detail), 2012, steel, brass, thistles, 82 x 60 x 10 in. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Broadening art perspectives

This is the first time Experimenter has shown a North African artist, but Raja clarifies that “No one harms me” does not indicate a move specifically towards African art, but a more global perspective in general for the gallery.

There is a great deal of work happening in the region [Africa], especially in and around the kind of thematics/practices we engage with as curatorial directors of Experimenter, so we have our eyes and ears open. Having said that, it’s really an artist to artist (and therefore practice to practice) decision for us, rather than a regional decision. There was never a better time to introduce newer practices into the viewership in India and Nadia’s inclusion in our program really talks about the broadening base of artists we want to include in Experimenter.

This increasingly international outlook was mirrored in Experimenter’s booth at India Art Fair 2013, which focused on works by Kaabi-Linke and Montreal-based artist Hajra Waheed. The gallery’s recent exhibitions have also included the work of other international artists such as Madrid-born Natasha de Betak and British-German Tino Sehgal.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, 'Impunities', installation view. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, ‘Impunities’, installation view. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, 'Ripped', 2013, installation view. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, ‘Ripped’, 2013, installation view. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, 'Parverbot (Looted Art)' (detail), 2010, wood, iron, steel, chrome, 36 x 79 x 33 in. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, ‘Parverbot (Looted Art)’ (detail), 2010, wood, iron, steel, chrome, 36 x 79 x 33 in. Image courtesy Experimenter Gallery.

More on Nadia Kaabi-Linke

Kaabi-Linke was born in Tunisia, and now divides her time between Berlin and Tunis. She studied at the University of Fine Arts, Tunis (1999) before receiving a Ph.D. from Paris-Sorbonne University (2008). Her installations, sculptures and pictorial works have shown at MoMA, (2013), Nam June Paik Art Centre, Seoul (2013), and the 54th Venice Biennial (2011), amongst other spaces. In 2011, she was a recipient of the Abraaj Group  Art Prize.

CN/KN/HH

Related Topics: African artists, picture feasts, installation art, Asia expands, art exhibitions in Kolkata

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