A new exhibition of works by the Birmingham born artist Idris Khan has just opened in the at the Whitworth in Manchester. This is the second exhibition of works by the artist at the Gallery. In 2012 they showed The Devil’s Wall (2011) three large, black, cylindrical sculptures, along with a series of works on paper.
For the current exhibition, a new wall drawing has ben created which can be seen on the right in the picture at the top of this post. It was difficult to take a photograph which fully captures the impact of this work which is made up of lines of text in English and Arabic printed onto the wall using rubber stamps – here’s a close up
Like some of his other works, to me, the wall painting resembled a stellar explosion.
Beginning or End (2013), a meditation on Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy and the cyclical nature of life and existence, was created using the same approach as the wall painting. However it’s painted on a dark background
Eternal Movement (2011) was commissioned for Sadler’s Wells Dance House was inspired by Muslim religious texts.
It’s meant to represent part of the Hajj pilgrimage where devotees walk back and forth seven times between two mountains near Mecca.
Death of Painting (2014), a series of five oil works on paper, are displayed on the wall directly opposite the wall painting.
They were inspired by Kasimir Malevich’s iconic black square painting. Khan’s composed black squares were created by writing a text with thick oil sticks over and over again on paper. Close up it could be seen that the squares were not “pure” black – traces of the writing could be seen.
The Rite of Spring (2013), created from layering photographs of Stravinsky’s score on top of each other.
From a distance the work just looked like a textured black and white pattern. Close up, however, the notes and staff of the musical notation could be made out.
I’ve enjoyed all the exhibitions shown in this new gallery space, created when the Whitworth was renovated and enlarged. The gallery is bright and airy and suits the modern works that they’ve displayed here.