ICA Debuts New Exhibits by Nalini Malani and Liz Deschenes

Art from Nalini Malani and Liz Deschenes is now on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art.

In Search of Vanished Blood / Photo by Gabrielle DiBenedetto

In Search of Vanished Blood. / Photo by Gabrielle DiBenedetto

The Institute of Contemporary Art has begun its summer season with the opening of two colorful new exhibits: Mumbai-based media and installation artist Nalini Malani’s In Search of Vanished Blood and the first comprehensive survey of architectural photographer Liz Deschenes’ work.

Summer is an ideal time to visit the harbor-adjacent ICA, and with their recent Best of Boston nod for best museum, it’s probably the right time to check out what they have to offer.

In Search of Vanished Blood

Nalini Malani has advocated for women’s rights in India and across the globe her entire career through her art. Malani’s immersive multimedia work draws on historical perspectives and personal experience as a refugee of the Partition of India while drawing in observers through dynamic sound and visuals.

Originally trained as a painter before gaining experience in video and installation, Malani blends all three mediums in this exhibit while communicating a message about the inequalities women struggle with globally. In Search of Vanished Blood features six 11-minute video projections cast through large rotating Mylar transparent cylinders with hand-painted figures and designs referencing Eastern and Western cultural art history. When illuminated, the figures and designs dance around the room accompanied by a spoken word audio presentation of women’s personal accounts and video that doubles as illustrating women’s stories and shadow play for the rotating cylinders.

Also on display is some of Malani’s other work containing media stop-motion sketches and inkjet prints inspired by women’s struggles and her past experiences. The exhibit takes its name from poet Faiz Ahmed Faizs’ poem about love, war, and loss in a country that suffers from political unrest.

Liz Deschenes / Photo by Gabrielle DiBenedetto

Liz Deschenes / Photo by Gabrielle DiBenedetto

Liz Deschenes

The ICA’s survey of Liz Deschenes represents a landmark in the 3D photographer’s career, as it brings together the work she produced from 1997 to the present. For more than two decades, Deschenes has explored the limits of photography through a camera-less process of exposing the surface to light such that it captures the silhouette of an object.

Deschenes’ exhibition showcases her extensive knowledge of photography history and the diverse work she has experimented with, from green-screen works to installation-sized reflective photograms.

The subject of Deschenes’ work is photography itself. Through colored and mirrored pieces she displays the processes of photography rather than introducing an external subject. The exhibit asks viewers to slow down, circle around the art, and experience the space around them firsthand as the sculptures and photography changes based on where they observe from.

Most of Deschenes’ work is balanced on the ground, suspended from the ceiling, or hung in the corners, which allows viewers to get up close and become aware of their own presence in the gallery.


Both exhibits will remain open for viewing at the ICA through October 16.