Idris Khan’s first UK public sculpture addresses our photo-obsessed culture
Referring to his personal archive of some 65,000 photographs, the London-based artist has created a monumental tower that represents our collective zeal to document our lives. By Elly Parsons
Today, we hold more photographs in the palms of our hand than ever before, yet we physically touch next to none. In this Insta-age of post-physical-photos, London-based artist Idris Khan asks us to consider the spatial volume these many thousands of images would fill, stacked one on top of the other, should they be printed. Shaped like a tapering exclamation mark, his public sculpture – 65,0000 Photographs – officially announces its presence in One Blackfriars square tomorrow morning, 5 November 2019.
Commissioned by St George City Ltd with London Borough of Southwark, as part of its One Blackfriars residential development transforming the South Bank, the artist had full creative flexibility. ‘They initially had a much smaller sculpture in mind, but they allowed me to build much higher,’ he says of the soaring 8m sculpture, which escalate skywards, its constituent blocks growing in size in relation to dimensions of standard photographic prints: 5x7, 10x7, 12x16 inches and so on.