Tala Madani, Shit Moms, installation view, Secession 2019, Photo: Peter Mochi

Tala Madani

Shit Moms

November 23, 2019 – February 9, 2020

Shit Moms is the title both of Tala Madani’s exhibition at Secession, her first solo show in Austria, and a new body of work. She deals here with concepts of domestic life and, more specifically, the idea(l)s and (corpo)realities of motherhood. While the title refers to the colloquial term for women who in some way fail their job or role as a mother, it also literally designates her approach to the theme: smeared, somewhat shapeless female bodies appear as mother figures made of excrement.

The shit mothers, shown in tender mother-and-child intimacy (At My Toilette #1, #2, #3) – drawing on the Western iconography of the Virgin Madonna and Child (the paradox of virgin maternity being a subject that has attracted Madani’s interest for a long time) – or surrounded, crawled over and jumped on by triples, quads and even larger tribes of infants, inhabit modernist apartments, appear in spot-lit disco halls, and peek at babies playing in abandoned houses. Picturing moments both of togetherness and isolation, they exude a sense of intimacy and human vulnerability.


Tala Madani was born in Tehran in 1981 and studied art and political science in the United States. She lives and works in Los Angeles.