Idris Khan

Drawing his inspiration from the history of art and music as well as key philosophical and theological texts, Idris Khan investigates memory, creativity and the layering of experience.

Khan's works rely on a continuous process of creating and erasing, or adding new layers whilst retaining traces of what has gone before. He first gained attention for work in which he used digital technology to overlay and combine series of visual or textual work: every Bernd and Hilla Becher photograph of a gable-sided house, every page of the Quran, every late Constable painting, every stave of Chopin's Nocturnes. 

Repetition and action have always been central to Kahn's practice along with a restricted set of processes. However, if his earlier works drew on pre-existing cultural artefacts and were about creating a totality from discrete parts, his more recent series introduce another layer of mediation and are resolutely hand-made. Printed texts are stamped in densely overlaid geometric shapes on the surface of paintings, works on paper, sculptures and wall drawings. The texts are drawn from the artist's own writings in response to classic art historical, philosophical and religious tracts.

Throughout his oeuvre, whether working with the still or moving photographic image, painting on canvas or directly onto the wall, Khan retains an aesthetic of elegant saturation. The density and precision of his images allude to the excess of information in the technical age, while encouraging a slower and more engaged way of looking and responding to our collective history and culture. 

Born in Birmingham in 1978, Khan lives and works in London. He has shown internationally, including recent solo shows at the Whitworth Gallery, University of Manchester (2012); Sadler's Wells, London (2011); Gothenburg Konsthall, Sweden (2011); Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2010); Kunsthaus Murz, Murzzuschlag, Austria (2010) and K20, Düsseldorf (2008). His work has also been included in group shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, Florida (2013); The British Museum, London (2012); National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (2012); Fundament Foundation, Tilburg (2011); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010); and Martin-Gropius Bau, Berlin (2009).

Hearing Voices...Schumann's Violin Concerto, 2007
digital c-type mounted on aluminium, 264.2 x 188 cms 104 x 74 inches