Idris Kahn

Idris Kahn

Work from his oeuvre.

“Employing seminal texts, musical scores and paintings as well as key works from the photographic oeuvre, Idris Khan transforms the cool art of appropriation into a meditation about authorship and time. To create his works, Khan often photographs a variety of material – sometimes borrowed, sometimes of his own creation – in series and digitally layers the results, accentuating certain areas or adjusting the light, shade or opacity of the images so that resonant composites are created. The results spark new thoughts about the original content, or open up seams of interpretation. For example, with individual notes and staves almost indecipherable, in Struggling to Hear… After Ludwig van Beethoven Sonatas, 2005, the sheet music for Beethoven’s entire series of sonatas becomes a dense wall of near blackness that alludes to the composer’s encroaching deafness.

Khan’s work challenges our assumptions about various media – how they are received and digested. Words and music, which we experience sequentially and which gain power from repetition are to an extent robbed of their function by becoming almost solid images. Existing images, such as photographs of gas holders and water towers taken by the German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, are in Khan’s work made to appear ghostly, animated with lines of energy and pulsing with life. Khan extends the photographic moment and his images, far from appearing to be the result of mechanical reproduction, become suffused with a kind of aura or spirit that lends them the quality of drawings.” – via Victoria Micro

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