One of the most significant artists to emerge in post-Independence India, Nasreen Mohamedi (1937–1990) created a body of work that demonstrates a singular and sustained engagement with abstraction. Her minimalist practice not only adds a rich layer to the history of South Asian art but also necessitates an expansion of the narratives of international modernism.
The Met Breuer exhibition, the first museum retrospective of the artist's work in the United States, is an important part of the Met's initiative to explore and present the global scope of modern and contemporary art. Mohamedi mainly worked with gestures of pencil and ink on paper, experimenting with organic forms, delicate grids, and dynamic, hard-edged lines. Her cosmopolitan outlook enabled her to draw upon a range of aesthetic sensibilities, from the poetry of Rilke and Camus, as well as Indian classical music, to the modernist architecture of Le Corbusier's Chandigarh.
Spanning Mohamedi's entire career and bringing together more than 130 paintings, drawings, photographs, and rarely seen diaries, the exhibition traces the conceptual complexity and visual subtlety of the artist's oeuvre.
Credit: Exhibition Overview from the Met Museum website
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Nasreen Mohamedi: Waiting Is a Part of Intense Living, considers of the most significant artists to emerge from post-Independence India. In her work, Mohamedi drew upon twentieth-century global modernisms while also referencing the longer history of geometric abstraction and calligraphy in Islamic art. Bringing together new scholarship, this essential volume illustrates over 200 works spanning Mohamedi's entire career. By exploring her work's conceptual complexity and visual subtlety, the book reveals this extraordinary artist's aesthetic approach and artistic evolution, situating her minimalist practice within the history of transnational modernism.