Nalini Malani’s Utopia | Magazine


Nalini Malani. Utopia. 1969–76

In the summer of 1969, Nalini Malani began to explore the art of the moving image. A recent graduate of the JJ School of Art in Bombay (now Mumbai), she was the youngest – and only female – participant in the legendary but short-lived Vision Exchange Workshop (VIEW), a Bombay artist center founded by the artist Akbar Padamsee. . Malani’s first stop-motion animated film, dream homesmade at VIEW the same year, draws inspiration from utopian modern architecture, including Indian architect Charles Correa’s plan for New Bombay (later known as Navi Mumbai, 1964), whose designs are featured in the MoMA exhibition The independence project: architectures of decolonization in South Asia, 1947-1985. Seven years later, she paired dream homes with a new film to form a diptych, Utopiawhich is currently on display at MoMA in Gallery 419: live for the cityand is presented here.

Malani’s revolutionary video installations of the 1990s, his shadow games/videos of the 2000s (like game pieces), and even her recent series of digital iPad animations, through which she connects with audiences on social media, harken back to those early experiments with moving images. Today, 50 years later, Malani and I spoke via email about the origins of this work and its continuing and widespread influence.
—Lucy Galun, Associate Curator, Robert B. Menschel Department of Photography

Join us for more screenings of the Hyundai Card Video Views series, which explores artists’ engagement with technology that has become central to our daily lives.

Nalini Malani. dream homes. 1969

Nalini Malani.  Preparatory transparency for Dream Houses.  1969

Nalini Malani. Preparatory transparency for dream homes. 1969

Nalini Malani, 1973
Nalini Malani.  Remembering Toba Tek Singh, installation view, World Wide Video Festival, Amsterdam, 1998.

Nalini Malani. Remembering Toba Tek SinghInstallation view, World Wide Video Festival, Amsterdam, 1998.

Nalini Malani.  Can you hear me?  2020. Installation view, Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai, 2020

Nalini Malani. Can you hear me? 2020. Installation view, Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai, 2020

Media and performances at MoMA are made possible by Hyundai Card.

Major support is provided by MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Director’s Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art.

Generous funding is provided by the Lonti Ebers Endowment for Performance and the Sarah Arison Endowment Fund for Performance.