Featuring formative video, photography, sound works as well as new commissions, this major survey explores the artist’s practice over two decades. Playing the role of a storyteller and urban archaeologist, Abidi explores an emotional and psychological space of satire, absurdity and social commentary. In this exhibition developed in collaboration with Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the artist’s works are imbued with personal and communal narratives shaped by evolving geopolitical relations between India and Pakistan, the historical power struggles of South Asia and American interests in the wider MENASA region. From the specific social and political context of Pakistan, she wrestles with memory of more cosmopolitan times that have been extinguished by ideological and sectarian nationalism as well as new forms of nativist populism. Through her work, she reveals issues that encroach upon struggles for justice in Pakistan, which may resonate with others around the world.
First presented in Sharjah (2019) as Bani Abidi: Funland and co-curated by Hoor Al Qasimi, Director, Sharjah Art Foundation and Natasha Ginwala, Gropius Bau Associate Curator, the MCA Chicago presentation of Bani Abidi: The Man Who Talked Until He Disappeared is organised by Sharjah Art Foundation and co-curated by Hoor Al Qasimi; Natasha Ginwala; and Bana Kattan, Pamela Alper Associate Curator, MCA Chicago.