Tunisian artist looks at harsh realities of life

New Delhi, May 20 (IANS): Nadia Kaabi-Linke grew up in Tunisia and Ukraine, countries caught in political upheavals, but the artist has not expressed the complexity of these events through her craft. What, in fact, has found voice through her works are the harsh realities of life.

"I grew up in Tunisia, Ukraine, the UAE and France. Both (Tunisia and Ukraine) the countries are important part of my childhood. They are undergoing changes and I feel uncomfortable commenting this in my work until I have a better understanding of what is happening there," Kaabi-Linke told IANS in an e-mail interview.

"I am interested only in the peculiar aesthetics of these phenomena. These 'harsh realities' are part of our life, and since I seek to better understand contemporary life through my work, I am trying to re-appropriate these drawbacks that shape more or less obvious structures, clandestine mechanisms and meanings in our lives," said the Tunis-born Berlin-based artist.

In her latest solo exhibition "In confinement my desolate mind desires" at the recently concluded second edition of the five-day Art Basel in Hong Kong, the 35-year-old artist was represented by Kolkata-based gallery Experimenter.

The displayed works deliberated on the multiple facets of confinement and its effects on people, relationships and on psychological and social behaviour of people within society.

As the artist's creative forte revolves around painting, printmaking and sculpture, she likes to understand the human psyche when it is in confinement of different kinds.

"How do people feel confinement, how do they even plan and manage confinement, how do they deal with it, and which forms of confinement are allowed - if not even fabricated - by modern societies that identify with social openness and freedom? These are some of the questions raised through this exhibition," said Kaabi-Linke.

"I am not sure if there is an underlying message, if so, I trust the viewers to read it. But what I have learnt is that confinement has no political dimension, because all dimensions (the objective, subjective, and social dimensions) are essentially political," she added.

For her work "modular" the artist has researched the minimum measurements of prison cells of several countries across the world and created an installation using metal strips that reconstruct these prison cells within the booth.

Her second work "sepulchre" is based on the belief that strife and violence do not spare even the departed and the bodily confined and that within that confinement too lies unrest, where as her third work "ripped" talks about the strains we put on relationships and the tribulations of coexistence in everyday life.

"Impunities" has taken bodily impressions of wounds and scars of women who have been subjected to domestic violence. These impressions are transferred onto a series of 28 glass panels that contemplate the darkness behind the seemingly transparent and normal relationships that we are conditioned to portray.


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