press release

On February 29th, 2008, galerie davide gallo is pleased to present the group show "Women of Light", a meeting of five women from Berlin to Mumbai, through Istanbul, Teheran, Pakistan. Fusun Onur, Shadi Ghadirian, Naiza Khan, Adeela Suleman, Nalini Malani are women who have been able to update the language of their culture of origin and - without emigrating to foreign countries - have helped to renew the artistic experience of the nations to which they are belonging. Through their research the dialogue between West and East gets a new light, shrinking the gap between cultures.

When for the first time I was invited to the home studio of Fusun Onur in Istanbul, after a few minutes of my visit, I started to feel uncomfortable. Around me I did not recognize any artwork, and I had the unpleasant feeling that I was wasting my time. But when I was speaking with the artist, little by little, I entered into a different dimension. Hurry was replaced by calm and my eyes began to grasp the details of that ancient house on the Bosphorus: a small crystal elephant next to a veil, a table and a book-shaped notebook, a frame without a photo and an old shell... here's where the works of Fusun Onur where hidden. In this way the artist has cleared the boundary between art and life: art is melting into life and life enobles art. The object seemingly has no meaning by itself but at the same time could encompass all meaning; the artist invites the viewer to develop as the supreme dowry attention, in order not to miss any detail... because it is in the details that the truth is hidden. Among the first to have used a conceptual language in Turkey of the Seventess, after an initial misunderstanding, Fusun Onur was hailed as a revolutionary, then over the years forgotten. She was then rediscovered and acclaimed yet as a great teacher by new and old generations.

Shadi Ghadirian is without doubts one of the great innovators of Iranian culture and art since she had the courage to introduce a new element in the imaginary collective that the contemporary world has of Muslim woman: irony! Her women, veiled or not, tell about daily life with a clear "divertissemant", as is the case of the famous series "Quajar" and "Like Every Day". These women are not warriors or revolutionaries; they contradict the typical European point of view regarding Muslim women which treats them as victims or Heroines. Yet in their own way the women of Shadi Ghadirian underline, with lightness, the dissonance of the contemporary world. They accept their identities and do not suffer from their situation, prefering to work from within! In the series "From West to East, for example, the images appearwith some erasures... as indeed happens when postal parcels arrive from the west to Iran and the censorship authorities delete parts of images considered, perhaps, too explicit. Shadi Ghadirian is universally recognized as one of the great interpreters of female culture of our time, very much loved in the East, as in the West.

Adeela Suleman and Naiza Khan, heirs of an ancient culture, sensitive aristocratic women engaged in the advancement of their country, both direct Vassl Art, which is the Association for the protection of Contemporary Art in Pakistan: they are the most acclaimed interpreters of the Pakistani women artistic scene. If Adeela Suleman, in her sculptures and installations, adopts the aesthetics of recycling in complete consistency with the best school of the Indian subcontinent, Naiza Khan prefers a more calm syntax. A whispered tone is perceived in her large drawings, in compositions with charcoal and acrylic telling Stories - sometimes stories of women and sometimes daring to address everyday issues confronting Pakistan. As is the case of "Iron Clouds", a work in which the balanced harmony seems not to fit with the title and subject, which recalls the hard times that the Pakistan has recently experienced. In the works of Naiza Khan, there is always something that collapses inwards, the denouncation of a system that interrogates itself and seems to get no answers. Also the last research of Adeela Suleman was inspired in some way by the tragic events in Pakistan. She is always interested in the emotional disturbance of ambiguous forms; some of her recent items appear to be stripped to the bone, reduced to their essence. In these works the assembled sculptures tend not to be daring forms but rather frozen structures. Elsewhere, however, the artist continues to force the assembly line narrative, domesticating new tools, imprisoning the form in structures, such as in her latest work "Helmets", with a magical and visionary impact.

Emigrating with her family from Pakistan to India immediately after the split between the two countries, Nalini Malani has long dominated the Indian art scene with her work, which is visionary yet sensitive to social complaints. Nalini Malani has always committed to intercultural dialogue, condemning extremism - a factor that has jeopardise the coexistence of different ethnic groups in the Subcontinent. The artist of Bombay looks with suspicion on art that only celebrates an aesthetic event or is just self referential. For Nalini Malani art has the challenge of telling of hardship, of investigating and illuminating the dark corners of life whether they are of the individual or concerning society, as is the case of the installation presented at the Venice Biennale, where she revealed the human and individual drama of maternity and its consequent detachment. The art of Nalini Malani, among the first artists in India to have used the video for artistic expression in India, had the courage to rejuvenate Indian culture through the explicit use of technology and through the concrete and disenchanted "vision" of the deepest regions of the human soul. Davide Gallo

only in german

Women of light

Künstler: Fusun Onur, Shadi Ghadirian, Adeela Suleman, Naiza Khan, Nalini Malani