Tala Madani

Tala Madani

I really laugh when I paint

American-Iranian artist Tala Madani has gained attention for her highly personal paintings depicting Middle Eastern men performing bizarre narrative rituals. In her art Madani reverses the traditional female object in painting, using laughter as energy.

"Laughter is quite interesting, because it's not necessarily "ha ha funny" laughter, sometimes it’s a burst of energy, this intensity of whatever's coming up." To artist Tala Madani, laughter is a higher personal energy, which she expresses through her art. In this interview Tala Maldani takes us on a tour of her painting teqnique and explains why she likes narratives, and prefers to paint without space and perspective. Drawings and paintings are wordless communication, and as such should not be explained, but experienced. Tala Madani paints the messy and the delicious, the funny, the contours and the stuff of people, she says in this interview. She also explains that painting is more mediated than drawing, but that she tries to "make painting more immediate and get the imagination out."

Tala Madani (b1981) is an Iranian-American artist based in Los Angeles, USA. She has an MFA in painting from Yale University School of Art in New Haven, USA, from 2006. Today, Madani lives and works in Los Angeles, USA.One of Madani's recurrent motifs is vulnerable, comic male figures, which gives the effect of reversing the conventionally objectified female body in painting. Her portraits of Middle Eastern men play out fictive rituals of a deviant, distinctly female imagination. Her painting style is loose, incorporating gestural brushstrokes into bizarre narrative scenes in an almost cartoon quality.

Tala Madani was interviewed by Synne Rifbjerg at Moderna Museet Malmö, 2013.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken

Edited: Kamilla Bruus

Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner, 2013.

Music by The XX

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2013

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Jørgen Leth

    Warhol eating a hamburger

    Let acclaimed film director Jørgen Leth take you through the iconic scene with Andy Warhol eating a hamburger from his film, 66 Scenes from America.

  • Thomas Demand

    A world of models

    We realize how the world looks through models, says German artist Thomas Demand in this interview. And we live with models all the time - in science, media, even the weather-forecast is a model. Without models, we would go mad within seconds.

  • Agnes Obel

    Diving into memory

    "Music is a sphere outside that of language. It's a different way of being present", says Danish singer-song-writer Agnes Obel. "That's why it is so beautiful to enter."

  • Shirin Neshat

    The power behind the veil

    "Nothing is ever beautiful without some disturbance or violence. That is why the melancholy of my works is so familiar to the people." Interview with the Iranian artist Shirin Neshat.

  • Bill Viola

    The tone of being

    Aside from a magical visual side, Bill Violas videos are always accompanied by marvelous sound. In this interview Viola talks about the importance of sound in his work and how he is guided by a kind of 'undersound'.

  • Chimamanda Adichie

    beauty does not solve any problem

    I am drawn to the beauty of sentences, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie confesses in this interview. Nevertheless it is important to keep a distance to your characters.

  • Peter Laugesen

    burning signals of two painters

    "Artists have to be like victims on the stakes, sending signals through the flames". Follow the burning signals of Asger Jorn and Jackson Pollock through the eyes of Danish poet, Peter Laugesen.

  • David Hockney

    Lost knowledge

    British artist David Hockney talks about the hidden role of photography in art history and the problem of preserving human knowledge in the digital age.

  • Gavin Turk

    About Piero Manzoni

    Is shit in a can art? In this short interview Gavin Turk talks about how Piero Manzoni and his piece ”Artist’s Shit” from 1961 has inspired him in working with his own art pieces, questioning art and its value.

  • David Vann

    Writing is a second chance

    You need two things for a good book: a character with a problem and a landscape. Hear American bestselling-author David Vann tell why.

  • Per Petterson

    The margins on your side

    Meet Per Petterson, one of the finest Norwegian writers, who talks about writing between the lines and playing with what's not being told. And about a country that's flooded with money!

  • Phyllida Barlow

    An age of fallen monuments

    "All our lives are about constantly loosing. The moment is always disappearing, like sand between our fingers. So what is it, we are actually left with", asks British sculptor Phyllida Barlow.