Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London
© Idris Kahn. Photography © Suki Dhanda
Birmingham-born artist Idris Khan is renowned for drawing inspiration from the history of art, philosophy and music. After Twombly…One Evening is a homage to late artist Cy Twombly and features Khan’s signature creating and erasing process. We took some time out with Idris Khan to find out more about After Twombly…One Evening, featured as Artwork Of The Week on Sedition, and his solo exhibition Beyond The Black at Victoria Miro Gallery opening 20 September – 9 November in London.
How did you find out about Sedition in first instance?
A friend and curator Adam Waymouth introduced me to Sedition. I loved the concept and then I found that several artist from Victoria Miro gallery had made work for the site.
What do you find most compelling about the digital medium?
It’s daunting and endless possibilities.
After Twombly… One Evening is featured as artwork of the week on Sedition. Could you share how you created this piece? Did you plan the work in digital format or did you transform it?
When I make my photographs I always start with a digital camera, photographing marks that I make over and over again on a chalkboard. The original concept for the piece was to make a still image. In a way it’s a stop frame animation. The camera is set up in one place and then I write the poem on a chalkboard, photograph it and the rub it out and photograph that. The photographs were then brought into final cut and a short film was made from around 100 still photographs.
The work references the scribbled, calligraphic-style of American artist Cy Twombly. What inspires you most about Twombly’s work?
This work was actually inspired by Twombly’s photographs he took of his own pairings in his studio. He was quite passionate about photography and always documented different stages of his work in his studio. One photograph in particular was of four of his chalk paintings resting against each other and I loved the way the lines seem to leap from one painting to another. This gave me the idea to record every mark of a painting and bring them together with a thousand pictures.
Can you explain a little more about the barely legible poem that features in the piece?
It was a poem taken from a Twombly Painting about a wilting peony.
Your third solo exhibition Beyond the Black opens this month at Victoria Miro in London. What can visitors expect from the exhibition?
In the exhibition’s seven paintings and one large wall I use a mixture of black pigment, rabbit skin glue and slate dust to create an absorbent ground which I apply to aluminium panels or directly to the wall and then sand back to produce a smooth, slate-like surface. The paintings are intensely dark with a dense radial constellation of words creating an image that suggests a contained energy emanating from a central point.
Do you have any upcoming projects or exhibitions you can share with us after Beyond The Black?
Yes. I’m have been asked to design the sets for a ballet by Wayne McGregor set to Max Richter’s version of The Four Seasons at the Zurich Opera House which opens in April next year.
Sedition is currently involved in setting up a number of digital exhibitions in contemporary museums – what are your thoughts on this trend in the future?
It should happen more and more.
Image by Michael Morris
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