Tala Madani Chalk Mark

Pilar Corrias Savile Row, London 8 July – 8 September


Chalk Mark represents – marks – a graduation of sorts from the chocolatey brown smears and splatters with which the artist shapes despairing and beshitted figures – often women – and the ghostly producers of all this e uent – babies and young children. This is the second of two consecutiv­e exhibition­s of Madani’s paintings at Pilar Corrias (the first, Skid Mark, was staged at the gallery’s longtime Fitzrovia address; Chalk Mark inaugurate­s an airy new space in Mayfair). Here the visitor finds a palette of marginally lighter tones across 15 mediumto largescale works, as well as the recurring figure of a saluting uniformed man beaming out at the world as though from a recruitmen­t poster. Many of the moods and themes that are hallmarks of Madani’s work – exhausted befuddleme­nt, priapism, deadpan, pitchdark exploratio­ns of the overlap between procreatio­n and digestion – remain central to this exhibition, though as the shift in titles from faecal marks to instructiv­e chalk marks suggests, there is also an expanding interest in how children learn, both formally and through observatio­n and imitation.

The most prominent works, physically and conceptual­ly, are three ‘blackboard’ paintings: white ‘chalk’ lines drawn quickly across green ‘slate’ background­s, with previous eŠorts visible in the smears – now white – of erasure and redrawing. In one, titled Blackboard (Further Education) (2021), a doctor operates on the coiled intestines of a stick-figure human; a world globe sits atop a table poised for use; a naked hairless man lies prone on the floor, his gaping mouth receiving a line of miniature figures who climb in and then ‘graduate’ from between his buttocks, clad now in black gowns and mortarboar­ds. Lying alongside the man is a child undergoing the same, hapless experience, but presented with a more sketchy, perhaps childish perspectiv­e: in contrast to the curves and details with which the man’s anatomy has been rendered, the child is all stick-figure limbs and a scratch of hair; instead of gowned graduates, he farts exclamatio­n points and question marks. Whether bodily function, developmen­tal stage or classroom learning, this process is clearly inevitable and often unpleasant. Barely visible in an upper corner of this work is where it all begins: the erased outlines of two lumpen figures in bed.

It’s not all sex, shit, violence, death – there’s humour too, of the dark, survival sort, to be found in the fraught, beleagueri­ng intimacy of life, and it is here that Madani consistent­ly makes herself at home. David Terrien

 ?? ?? Perfect Copy €€, 2021, oil on linen, 100 × 80 × 2 cm. Courtesy the artist and Pilar Corrias, London
Perfect Copy €€, 2021, oil on linen, 100 × 80 × 2 cm. Courtesy the artist and Pilar Corrias, London

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom