Opens November 1
Idris Khan transforms the conceptual art of appropriation into an elegant and substantial meditation on the act of creativity. Appropriating icons of literature, music, and art, Khan methodically layers his material, whether it is Beethoven’s symphony, Milton’s Paradise Lost, or Bernd and Hilla Becher’s stylized sculpture of water towers. The process allows the artist to tease out certain areas adjusting the source material so that the soul of the piece is manifested in Khan’s accreted interpretation. For example, in Struggling to Hear… After Ludwig van Beethoven Sonatas, 2005, Beethoven’s entire series of sonatas becomes a dense wall of near blackness; a virtual illustration of the composer’s deafness.
Khan’s work tests our experience of these other art forms; words and music are experienced sequentially, however the artist compresses time visually. Photographic iconography such as Bernd and Hilla Becher’s water tower series—a body of work based on the inherent nature of recurring form—layer upon one another and ultimately create a ghostly animation describing the ‘essence’ of the form rather than each individual tower.
Born in Birmingham in 1978, Khan lives and works in London. He had a major solo exhibition at K20, Düsseldorf in 2008 and has also exhibited at Art Dubai (2008), Forum d’art contemporain, Luxembourg (2008), inIVA, London (2006), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006), and Helsinki Kunsthalle (2005). His work is included in the collection of The National Gallery of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, among others.