M4 - Idris Khan at Victoria Miro Gallery

Motivated by the meeting with a good friend I have not seen for four years, I went to London yesterday and had a very intense and precious time packed with long chat, new places and new reflections. 

One of the places I visited was the Victoria Miro Gallery. I found the Idris Khan exhibition currently on display there and thought it is the good occasion to check out both, the gallery and the artist who I know from the thoughtful and beautiful abstract works and who is, as I only learned recently, one of the most influencial British artists.

I read about the 'Absorbing Light' body of work before the visit so I knew what to expect and was very curious of the impact the works may have.

(...')Forms are triggered by a desire to ascertain how scale, mass and volume are perceived, measured or remembered in times of sensory deprivation or through compromised and fragmentary accounts.'(...) In fact, both painting and sculpture allude to spaces of imprisonment and the experiences of those whose perception has been compromised. Deeply moved by testimonies from Saydnaya, Syria’s most notorious and brutal prison, Khan has researched the ways in which inmates encounter and remember their surroundings. While first-hand accounts of Saydnaya, where cells intended for solitary confinement are inhabited by up to fifteen detainees, are the only available source of information about the prison, the testimonies of those few inmates who are released are severely hampered by the conditions in which they are kept: in darkness, blindfolded, or forced to cover their eyes. Their sense of the place, therefore, can only be ascertained by other means – through sound, smell, or by mental exercises such as counting the tiles on a floor, the bars of a cell, the number of fellow prisoners, or the number of days detained. Darkness unites the works – both physical darkness and the metaphorical and emotional darkness of Khan's source material. 

Most works were purely black with the traces of the words/letters imprinted on the geometric blocks of  patinated bronze and a flatt surface of the canvas. I was impressed by the exposition space and silence which definitely worked on the account of the displayed works but overall rather disappointed by the austere expression without any voice.

The works did not speak to me and that was a big surprise as I was moved by the facts which provoked Khan to create them, I admire abstract art and I love black. I thought that combination of all those factors will be a visual and emotional feast for me, but it wasn't. 

Maybe I was too distracted by the chat with Aga, quite chaotic and about everything - quite typical after such a long time... 

REFERENCES

https://www.victoria-miro.com/exhibitions/513/