MASLEN & MEHRA

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Contemporary Artspace
London 1997-2000
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MASLEN & MEHRA

Working in a diverse, imaginative and experimental graphic language, Maslen & Mehras' collaborative practice engages in dialogues which compare, contrast and juxtapose the natural and human world in which we live.

‘We tend to avoid assigning labels and categories for ourselves preferring not to create such limitations. Viewers can be inclined to refer to us as ‘environmental artists’.  However, it’s evident when one looks back at our work that we have not embraced one type of art whether that is photography, sculpture or installation art. It’s the same for the subject matter of our work, which is constantly evolving. We consider our early collaborations to be ‘macro’ having a broad brush or an overview. Asking the big questions…’what is our place in nature?’; ‘what place does nature have in our developed world?’ We consider our more recent work to be ‘micro’. By that we mean we are honing in on very specific dilemmas in politics and the environment. This requires a completely different methodology in order to create work with detailed narratives.’

Maslen & Mehra (Excerpt from an interview in 2016 for the Comel Award Italy)

‘Lying behind both the Native images, and the images of the Mirrored series that are their antonym, lies a longing for an Edenic world that perhaps never truly existed in fact. I think it is part of the fascination of these works that they both preach a certain kind of morality, a morality of respect for nature, and at the same time question it. You can inhabit these scenes, but only as a ghost. The problems they pose are ultimately insoluble – there are no slick solutions to be found here.’

EDWARD LUCIE-SMITH Quote from Mirrored – Maslen & Mehra monograph published by Verlag für moderne Kunst Nürnberg 2008

'It is not by chance that armed soldiers arise in the magically photographed landscapes of Maslen and Mehra, without it ever becoming clear what goals they are pursuing. They as well are occupied by the landscape in an utter lack of distinction. They lose their subjectivity in a reflection, which is projected onto the figures. By means of the fixed delineation of their surface they are at the mercy of nature, even while they cling to the mistaken belief that it is they who project their image onto nature. All military goals remain secondary in the face of the omnipotence of natural processes. The figures summon up reminiscences of the conquerors, the conquistadores, the foreign legionnaires and soldiers whose role it was to shore up the colonial ambitions of the European and American powers. This penetration of strangers into a strange land for the purpose of violence, such as was described so forcefully for the Belgian Congo by Joseph Conrad in his book The Heart of Darkness, is doomed to failure, as is announced metaphorically by the mirrored images.'

Mirrored The Photography of Maslen & MehraWritten by Eugen Blume, Chief Curator Hamburger Bahnhof Museum Berlin 2008

 

Maslen & Mehra by Edward Lucie-Smith

EDWARD LUCIE-SMITH is an art historian, art critic, curator, poet and photographer who has written books on contemporary art published in many languages. Among his best-known titles are 'Movements in Art since 1945', 'The Visual Arts of the 20th Century' and 'Art Today'.  He curated the survey exhibition 'New Classicism in Art', at Palazzo Forti in Verona. Among his many books is a monograph on the American feminist artist Judy Chicago [published in May 2000], and 'Art Tomorrow' [published in October 2002], a survey of the most recent developments in contemporary art, which includes work by Maslen & Mehra

Maslen & Mehra: Culture Lens Nature Mirror
Text by John K Grande

John K. Grande has curated several editions of Earth Art at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Recent books include Dialogues in Diversity; Art from Marginal to Mainstream (Pari Publishing, Italy)  Bob Verschueren, Natura Humana (Editions Mardaga, Belgium) and The Landscape Changes (Prospect/Gaspereau Press, Canada). Eco-Art, co-curated with Peter Selz is on view at the Pori Art Museum in Finland until June 2011. www.grandescritique.com
 

 

Mirrored The Photography of Maslen & Mehra
by Eugen Blume


Professor Eugen Blume is curator at the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum Berlin

 

Sense of Wonder: The Landscape Photographs of Maslen and Mehra by Chris Townsend


Chris Townsend's recent publications include The Art of Tracey Emin (co-edited with Prof. Mandy Merck, 2002) and The Art of Rachel Whiteread (2004). Forthcoming volumes include the monographs A World at Random: The Art of Boyle Family (2005) and New Art from London (2006). Curated exhibitions include Rapture: Art's Seduction by Fashion, 1970-2000 (Barbican Art Gallery, 2002) and The Ugly Show (Leeds Metropolitan University Art Gallery, 1998). He is a lecturer in the Department of Media Arts, Royal Holloway, University of London

 

 

TECTONIC PLATES
Artspace Sydney Catalogue Essay
by Paul McGillick

Dr Paul McGillick is a prominent, Sydney-based writer and editor in the fields of architecture, art and design. He is currently Editorial Director of Indesign Publishing and editor of Habitus and Indesign magazines. He was formerly editor of another prominent architecture and design magazine, Monument.

 

Impermanent Collection : Maslen & Mehra by Edward Lucie-Smith