Spotlight: Idris Khan inaugurates Sean Kelly’s LA space with lyrical works blending musical notation and prose

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What do you want to know: This month, the Sean Kelly Gallery opens its new Los Angeles space with a rhythmic and meditative exhibition of works by British artist Idris Khan. The show, “landscape pattern,“brings together a new body of work by the artist created over the past year, including large-scale paintings, bronze sculptures, watercolors on paper and photographs. Khan is best known for his works in black and white focused on musical composition and lyrics. The artist first began expanding his palette to incorporate a shade of saturated blue in his works for the 2019 exhibition “Blue Rhythms” at Sean Kelly in New York. the artist takes his experiments with color further, such as the inclusion of a rich coppery blue, as well as breaking new ground in terms of the medium, with bronze sculptures and works in gesso on aluminum also making their mark. first appearances.

Why we love it: Khan’s works are both meditative and thought-provoking, and in this bright, contemplative exhibition we can see the artist both unraveling and expanding his interests. Music, which has been an area of ​​enduring fascination for Khan, here intertwines with a newfound interest in landscape and the passage of time. These themes were inspired by Vivaldi The four Seasons and take shape in a series of 22 watercolors titled “The Pattern of Landscape” (from which the exhibition takes its name). Khan taps into these musical and temporal themes through rich, evocative color choices reminiscent of the changing leaves of autumn, verdant spring, and all the fleeting moments in between. Meanwhile, Sergei Rachmaninoff Preludes inspired Khan’s early bronze sculptures – two of which are included in the exhibition – which are intricately engraved with the entire score, through the use of 3D printing. Also of note, Khan for the first time created works that reference both music and text in the same space. In these, the artist has situated a square field of musical notations and sheet music on a rectangular background of text derived from philosophical writings, creating a sort of window within a window on canvas. Of these works, Khan said, “I want people to come into this very meditative space and stand in these fairly large paintings and fall into the frame, this central square that almost feels like it’s floating.”

According to the Gallery: “For Khan, the combination of music and text is his way of representing the rhythm of the world that reverberates in daily life. It presents both languages ​​simultaneously, with music as the universal language. Compositionally, these paintings present a formal break from Khan’s earlier “Rhythm Paintings”, which featured a line bisecting the canvas to create two separate blocks of text. In these new works, Khan leaves an exposed band of pure color at the bottom of the painting, untouched by music or text, hovering as if part of a pictorial and cultural landscape,” the gallery wrote in a statement. .

See the works in the exhibition below.

Idris Khan, madness in spring (2022). Courtesy of Sean Kelly.

Idris Khan, The Changing Seasons - The Image (2022).  Courtesy of Sean Kelly.

Idris Khan, The changing of the seasons – The image (2022). Courtesy of Sean Kelly.

Idris Khan, The Landscape Model (2022).  Courtesy of Sean Kelly.

Idris Khan, The landscape model (2022). Courtesy of Sean Kelly.

Idris Khan, The Landscape Model (2022).  Courtesy of Sean Kelly.

Idris Khan, The landscape model (2022). Courtesy of Sean Kelly.

Idris Khan: the model of the landscapeis on view at Sean Kelly, Los Angeles, through November 5, 2022.

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James C. Tibbs