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Nalini Malani, The Job, 1997, cloth, metal, bell jars, vinyl, rice, lentils, turmeric, salt, chili powder, digital video (color, silent, 10 minutes). Installation view. Photo: Philippe Migeat.

Nalini Malani

Centre Pompidou

Nalini Malani, The Job, 1997, cloth, metal, bell jars, vinyl, rice, lentils, turmeric, salt, chili powder, digital video (color, silent, 10 minutes). Installation view. Photo: Philippe Migeat.

I walked into a womb-like interior—and panicked. Eight clear Mylar cylinders were suspended from the ceiling, each one painted on the inside and lit from within, and they were made to rotate, so that they projected shifting, sliding colored images on the walls as they spun around and around: a little girl on crutches, schools of fish gobbled up by a bigger fish, mutilated limbs and intestines swirling in the red glare, and . . . was that Lewis Carroll’s Alice suspended in a pool of blood? The sword-wielding Mad Meg, an apparition from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s eponymously named 1562 painting, replaces her.

Welcome to Remembering Mad Meg, 2007, one of Nalini Malani’s seminal “video/shadow plays.” This art aims to be hair-raising. That our first encounter at this major retrospective—sensitively curated by Sophie Duplaix—was with one of Malani’s best-known and goriest

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