Tai Shani

Russell & Robert meet Tai Shani, multidisciplinary British artist and joint-winner of the Turner Prize 2019. Shani’s practice encompasses performance, film, photography and sculptural installations, frequently structured around experimental texts. She is currently a Tutor in Contemporary Art Practice at the Royal College of Art.

Taking inspiration from disparate histories, narratives and characters mined from forgotten sources, Shani creates dark, fantastical worlds, brimming with utopian potential. These deeply affective works often combine rich and complex monologues with arresting, saturated installations, manifesting equally disturbing and divine images in the mind of the viewer. 

We discuss her on-going "DC: projects", developed by the artist over a four-year period and culminating in her Turner Prize nomination. The work is made up of multiple characters which explore mythical and real women in an expanded adaptation of Christine de Pizan's 1405 pioneering proto-feminist book, The Book of the City of Ladies. Shani uses the structure of an allegorical city of women to explore ‘feminine’ subjectivity and experience, through a gothic/science-fiction lens. Adopting Pizans’ medieval conception of history, where historical events, fictions and myths are entwined, "DC: projects" draws upon a host of references, tropes and characters from disparate sources, creating an elaborate world, outside of time and beyond patriarchal limits. 

Follow @TaiShani on Instagram or visit www.TaiShani.com and for details of Tai's installation at Turner Prize 2019 visit @TurnerContemporary or @The_Tetley for Tai's earlier exhibition mentioned in this episode. If you've enjoyed this episode, be sure to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or email talkartpodcast@gmail.com as we love hearing your feedback! @talkart


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