"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

idris khan and nicholas nixon

Idris Khan created "every…Nicholas Nixon’s Brown Sisters, 2004" by layering the portraits Nicholas Nixon made of over a twenty-year period of his wife and her three sisters. In compiling multiple images into one, Khan creates a unique image, while also changing the way we approach the originals.

“A lot of people in the art world hate to use the word ‘Photoshop’, like it’s cheating or easy or something. I say bollocks to thatfor me, it’s my tool, my paintbrush if you like, and lets me create my own visual language.”
- Idris Khan

A bit about Khan from San Francisco's Fraenkel Gallery website:

"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, England in 1978, Khan lives and works in London. Solo exhibitions of his work have been mounted at the Gothenburg Konsthall, Sweden (2011), the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (2009), and K20, Düsseldorf (2008). His work has been exhibited at Forum d’art Contemporain, Luxembourg (2008), the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2006), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006), and the Helsinki Kunsthalle (2005). His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, among others."

To see several of Nixon's "Brown Sisters" photographs, check out this previous post. Readers should know by this point that I have always loved this body of work!

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