Nadia Kaabi-Linke | No One Harms Me...: Experimenter – Hindustan Road

12 March - 3 May 2013

Experimenter presents, No One Harms Me… Nadia Kaabi-Linke’s first solo exhibition in India opening on Tuesday March 12. The phrase, No One Harms Me… comes from the insignia of the Order of Knight of the Thistle and from emblems from the Scottish regiments of the British Army. The use of the words “ No One Harms Me”, and that of the image of the dried thistle in these emblems, both fragile and dangerous at the same time is the point of departure for this exhibition. In continuation of her interest in gender inequality, multiplicity of meaning of the form and deeply layered conflicting emotions; No One Harms Me… brings together a new body of work.

Often responding to simple, but symbolically significant, imagery or materials, Kaabi-Linke’s practice can be read as a kind of documentary sculpture, creating an indexical relationship with the world and people around her. Her works bring to the forefront such everyday phenomena as the bodily traces of people waiting at bus stops and scrapes of paint chips from various city walls, which she suspends in the air to create new cartographies, or by taking impressions of other wall surfaces in cities and by incorporating commonly available objects within her broader sculptural practice.

Kaabi-Linke at several instances uses materials that touch upon the very nature of modern relationships and insecurities. For example, the title work of the exhibition, No One harms Me Unpunished, is a naked doubled mattress layered with dry thistles that are as attractive and seemingly fragile, and dangerous at the same. Floating in mid air, it reflects on the nature of conjugal relationships that creak under the pressure of compromises and the violence inflicted on women in marriages, all over the world in modern patriarchal society. Similarly in two other bodies of work, Torn and Ripped, Kaabi-Linke uses impressions and negative impressions of actual human hair, making a direct comment on the violent nature of relationships on the one hand and a minimal abstract understanding of the history of form, on the other. In yet another work, Impunities, Kaabi-Linke takes impressions of scars and wounds of people using forensic techniques and transfers them onto glass slides, bringing the viewer up close and intimate with the wounds inflicted on women, who have suffered domestic abuse, that now look like delicately rendered line drawings.

Parkverbot (Looted Art) explores the duality and juxtaposition of the opposites where a simple park bench invitingly attracts a viewer but on close examination, one discovers that the seat is covered with bird control spikes and it cannot be really used as a bench, making a seemingly harmless object, look menacing. The Short Story of Salt and Sun, is an impression on canvas taken from a wall exposed to the sea in Tunisia, where incidentally Nadia is from, commenting on the fabric of the city that bears witness to the vagaries of turbulent times and all that make up a city. No One Harms Me…comes at a crucial moment in Kaabi-Linke’s career and offers a truly representative point of view into her varied practice.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke was born in 1978 in Tunis, Tunisia, and lives and works in Berlin and Tunis. She studied at the University of Fine Arts, Tunis (1999) before receiving a PhD from the Sorbonne University, Paris (2008). Kaabi-Linke’s work has been shown at several important venues including the MoMA, NY (2013), Nam Jun Paik Art Center, Seoul (2013), Liverpool Biennial (2012), Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Ithaca (2012), the 54th Venice Biennial (2011) amongst others. Awarded the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, (2011), her work is part of several public and private collections including, MoMA, NY, Kamel Lazzar Foundation etc.