12 April 2012

Art I like - Idris Khan

 The Devil's Wall is the name of Idris Khan's show at the Whitworth in Manchester (till 13 May). The three dark round objects represent the three pillars that Hajj pilgrims throw stones at; words in English and Arabic are sandblasted into them, falling into the centre. Sandblasting: an aggressive act, leaving delicate traces -
The words are stamped on (that's a lot of stamping!) with oil paint - again, this represents the throwing of stones against the pillars - using stamps to stamp out feelings -

The lighting throws unexpected shadows -
Close-up of the overlaid music
Waiting for the artist to appear and tell us more about his work -
He started by saying his work was about loss, abstraction, repetition, and appropriation; about bringing everything to the surface. The run-through of his work and career, and his stories about the pieces, was edifying;  one thing led to another, and everything knitted itself together into the overall "story". On doing an MA: "you think you come in with a good idea, and leave with another [different!] one". More underpinnings: returning to the same thing every day (eg prayer rituals, music practice). Returning to a certain  point in life.

Some of the meat of the evening was in his generous responses to questions. What sticks with me is: to keep making work you believe in - understand what it is before you show it - take it through to the end, even if it doesn't work. Also, he believes that "the first thing the viewer wants to see is a very beautiful image." Yes!

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