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Cave Interior (Ancestors)



Tala Madani


1981 –

Alternate image of Cave Interior (Ancestors) by Tala Madani
Alternate image of Cave Interior (Ancestors) by Tala Madani
Alternate image of Cave Interior (Ancestors) by Tala Madani
Alternate image of Cave Interior (Ancestors) by Tala Madani
  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    oil and polymerised plaster on linen
    139.7 x 111.8 x 3.2 cm
    Purchased with funds provided by the Mervyn Horton Bequest Fund, Geoff Ainsworth AM & Johanna Featherstone, Andrew Cameron AM & Cathy Cameron, and Clare Ainsworth Herschell 2020
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Tala Madani

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Tala Madani

    Works in the collection


  • About

    'Cave Interior (Ancestors)' is from a series of works which feature images of ghostly, half-present characters who occupy and haunt darkened spaces. The painting portrays a primal visual scene: a cave interior that suggests sites such as Lascaux while also invoking Plato’s famous allegory of the cave. The odd note in this scene, as with many of Madani’s, is the presence of two male figures who appear to be inspecting this vast wall of imagery by the light of their iPhones. They are, however, haplessly focused on what is right in front of them, while above looms a spectral crowd of gesticulating figures who have not been drawn onto the surface of the canvas but rather gouged by hand back into the thick medium Madani has applied. In Madani’s absurdist yet ominous scenario, it is as if the two male ‘authorities’ in the lower foreground are about to be overwhelmed by the visceral field of matter and imagery above them – swamped by art’s unruly past, perhaps. The painting suggests – as does Plato’s allegory – that art, illusions and imagery are untrustworthy yet also mesmerising.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication