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

  • Georg Baselitz

    Only in art the world is whole

    ”The most intact world is the world of art. Nothing is better or more interesting to me than paintings.” Renowned German artist Georg Baselitz looks back on his life, his roots and inspirations, and considers where he is at today.

  • Georg Baselitz

    My idol Edvard Munch

    Meet the legendary painter Georg Baselitz in this short interview about his idol Edvard Munch and their mutual interest in psychological mutilation: ”There is a method of drawing through which one recognizes that something isn't right.”

  • Humberto Campana

    A material flirt

    Did you ever dream of design with a sense of Brazilian sensuality and playfulness? Meet Brazilian designer Humberto Campana from the renowned Campana brothers design team in this short video, where he shares his inspirations.

  • Yahya Hassan

    Poems of rage

    Aged just 18, Danish-Palestinian Yahya Hassan has caused a stir and received death threats because of his powerful poetry collection, which sold in 100.000 copies, criticizing the hypocrisy of the welfare state, his family and Muslims in Denmark.

  • Jonathan Meese

    A soldier saluting art

    Can an artist do the 'heil'-salute like the Nazis did during WW2? Artist Jonathan Meese was taken to court in Germany and won the trial. Here the artist explains why it is important to empty symbols of their meaning when fighting political ideology.

  • Aernout Mik

    A sense of uncertainty

    There is something going on, something disturbing, and we don’t know what it is. Meet the Dutch video artist Aernout Mik, who often works without sound: "I think the image is sharper, much sharper, without it."

  • Kerry James Marshall

    Paint it black

    Imagine being seen for who you really are, a central figure in narration. In this powerful interview American artist Kerry James Marshall talks about how he explores the presence and absence of the black figure in art history.

  • Richard Tuttle

    Artists are like clouds

    An emotional interview with the award winning post minimalist Richard Tuttle, known for his subtle, intimate works: ”Artists they’re from nature, they come out of nature, they’re like the clouds that just happen.”

  • Linda Perhacs

    Dental hygienist & music legend

    The incredible story of the dental hygienist Linda Perhacs who as a young woman in 1970 published a groundbreaking album which nobody noticed. Half a century later she discovered that it had gone worldwide on the Internet.

  • Lawrence Weiner

    The means to answer questions

    An interview with the legendary conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner about the connection between cruelty, hierarchy and rationality. The artist must ask questions past ordinary logic, he says.

  • Glenn Branca

    Sounds from the subconscious

    ”I had to squeeze the music out of that thing!” Feel the good vibes in this laid back interview with legendary American avant-garde composer and noise-guitarist Glenn Branca, who has influenced bands like Sonic Youth.

  • Jonathan Meese & his mother

    Mommy and me are animals

    German artist & enfant terrible Jonathan Meese is interviewed with the most important person in the world – his 84 year old mother, Brigitte Meese. The two have worked together for 44 years, if you include the years before he became an artist.