WHY AM I ALL BLUE

For the summer, La Villa du Parc is featuring the first solo show on French soil of Nadira Husain (1980), a French artist of Indian descent who lives and works in Berlin. Inspired by the unexpected floating associations that are the stuff of childhood and reverie, Husain mixes in her pictorial practice motifs and techniques that come from traditional Indian and popular Western cultures with which she grew up.
30.06.2018 to 22.09.2018

She creates hybrid polyphonic paintings that express in tangles of lines a variety of references that are devoid of hierarchy or center. The domestic, ornamental and spatial dimensions are combined with a feminist approach to subjects and strategies of representation. She has taken over La Villa du Parc and made it into a distant echo of her family’s house in Hyderabad, imagining a teeming tipsy show in which paintings of powerful women and composite creatures joyously fill the space and sow their political potential for transformation.

 

“Why am I all blue,” the creatures populating the prolific pictorial world of Nadira Husain wonder, raising a question that is not lacking in a positive affirmation. Smurfs, Hindu deities, and furry avatars of cyberpunk culture share this skin color, chosen precisely because it is not seen in humans. Blue points to a community of beings who have a troubling and ambivalent identity. Feminist theories since the 1970s and ‘80s have posited that the best way to free oneself from the binarities that are specific to the oppressive patriarchal system is through the kind of creatures dreamed up by science fiction and underground cultures, i.e., cyborg, amazon, androgynous beings, etc. All figures interrogating difference whose ability to transform themselves, along with their physical and intellectual plasticity, reworks the limits of the community while calling into question the roles a complacently macho “nature” supposedly assigns them.

La Villa du Parc is thus playing host for the summer to the pantheon of a new type created by the artist Nadira Husain where visitors can get acquainted with speckled-skinned women-foundations who are solidly grounded and bearing a load, therianthropic creatures pregnant with comic book figures, and other supernumerary-limbed characters proliferating throughout the Villa’s rooms, sowing new avatars everywhere. Dense and fertile, the Husainian style goes all in for flooding the canvas and spinning out numerous lines, replicating motifs and superimposing figures upon figures in a decorative, ornamental approach to painting, which expands on the wall and floor, and in the surrounding space.

“Pourquoi je suis tout bleu” (Why I Am All Blue) combines recent works with a number of new pieces done specifically for the exhibition. Husain has devised a presentation that plays out on both floors, with the ground floor anchored in the ground, carnal obsessions and earthly difficulties, while the floor above, apparently freed of gravity, deploys winged creatures in an airy space that is ideal for dreaming and reverie.

Propelled by the effervescence of all these influences, anyone can dream of their own positions and rethink the near world of domestic space that is nevertheless in touch with far-off fantasy, and in proximity to those who are depicted with such ease and exhilaration at La Villa du Parc.

Garance Chabert, curator of the exhibition

 

Curator: 
Garance Chabert
Performative body, 2018, Private collection, US, ©Nadira Husain
Performative body, 2018, Private collection, US, ©Nadira Husain