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10 Dec 2008

MONALI MEHER at Lumen Travo gallery

First Departure, 1st Sinop Biennale,
Turkey 2006, Photo: Alparslan Karaaslan

MONALI MEHER. Departed, Assembled, Wrapped, Captured : Time


Exhibition till december 20th
Opening time:
wednesday to saturday 13.00 - 18.00

00 31 20 627 0883

Lijnbaansgracht 314
1017 WZ Amsterdam

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For her solo show at Lumen Travo gallery, Monali Meher takes a turn and proposes a thought about the notion of time, as underlined in the title 'Departed, Assembled, Wrapped, Captured: Time'. Through a selection of recent and past artworks, the artist points out her exploration into the physicality of time, the way she embodies it, catches it, makes it being visible, manipulates its past and present energy. Her artistic performances, installations, objects, photographs and videos witness her quest for defining the body as a trouble spot of time and space's connections or mutual extensions. Beyond this quest, Monali Meher draws an ontological thought, time influencing human essence and evolution.

The series called My Wrapped Home/ My Tehvar (2008) has been produced during the artist's residency in Karachi (Pakistan). The wrapped objects are central to the work of Meher. The artist started wrapping objects in 2005 with the aim to make emotions emerge from them, the red being both a colour of life and death, joy and violence. It was a natural process in her work, even if it reminded her then of the threads and pieces of cloth attached to the structure of temples. In Meher's work, the wrapped objects are sensible presences, the wool being both an emotional skin and a working process, which stresses up human construction in relation with time. These objects serve as manifestations, which connect the notions of private/collective memory, longing/ belonging, intimacy/ ritualization. The artist is playing with senses and time process to create liminal connections 
between outer tangible world and inner invisible one. This web of connexions is like a 
third space, the third space of narration (cf Homi K. Bhabha).

This sensible narration comes out again in another way in other works of Meher, like the photographs and branches from her site specific installation called 360˚ (2008), she realized in the De Zone area of the forest in Arnhem. The round platform, where the artist has worked, was used as a 'Device for directions' for the Nazis' airplanes during the Second World War. She disposed tree branches from the same site wrapped with more than two thousands meters of red wool. The branches underline the form of the platform and point out the tensions between the traces of history and perishing organisms.

In her series of photographs called First Departure (2008), based on a performance she did for the Biennale of Sinop in 2006 (Turkey), Meher embodies the idea of a double sided identity, split into different space/time, in a 'state of otherness possession'. Standing in the sun for 3 hours on an abandoned truck in the courtyard of a disused prison, Meher was supervising the horizon by turning slowly of 45 degrees every 15 minutes. Meher distinguishes indeed more and more her discourse from the one of postcolonial studies, where the notions of identity and displacement/ immigration are conceived in terms of nation-ness. The video work called Restoring our temples (2008), realized in Istanbul, obviously relates to Meher's quotation : 'I don't want to identify, it is about restoring our temples as a body'. Meher rather focuses on an ontological reading of identity, described in terms of divided presence.

Emilie Oursel