ART & DESIGN

Idris Khan’s Words and Pictures


Photographer: Charlie Rubin

Idris Khan’s practice is founded in his passion for transparency—whether that means shining light on shadowy politics with prose or demystifying the creation of a painting with photography. For his first solo show at Sean Kelly gallery, opening on September 11th, the British artist and wordsmith will debut his first sculpture, “Overture”, a glass and metal work that incorporates his whimsical writings. Before the opening, Khan offered an exclusive preview. Take a tour here.

1
Photographer: Charlie Rubin

Idris Khan at Sean Kelly gallery, 2015.

2
Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“For my writings, I try to draw from people’s experiences. I cannot understand what it is like to be in an active conflict zone, but through reading first-hand narratives and the news, I can begin to piece together the fragments in a way that becomes something new.”

3
Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“I like the idea that people can get lost in my works. There are so many instances in the media about individuals who are displaced by wars, genocides, dictators. I wanted to find a way to tap into those emotions through aesthetics.”

4
Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“I take a picture of each stroke I make on the canvas. What you are looking at is almost 1500 photographs of the same painting that I’ve layered in order to create a new composition.”

5
Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“You have no idea how hard it is to get a perfect sheet of glass. I wanted the viewer to be aware, perhaps for the first time, of what glass really looks like.”

6
Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“My titles almost always come from my writings. They are sort of visual poems—not that I fancy myself a poet.”

7
Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“The stamps became a kind of ritualistic part of my practice. It has a kind of rhythm. It can feel almost like prayer.”

8
Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“What’s beautiful about gesso is that it really sucks in the pigment so you can keep going and going.”

9
Photographer: Charlie Rubin

“I never give away the entire passage. The viewer is asked to fill it in, which makes it a more abstract experience.”