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Artist of the week: Idris Khan

Idris Khan new exhibition, Contrary Motion, at Göteborgs Konsthall, Sweden

This exhibition of Idris Khan’s work will take place from 13 May–21 August 2011. Photography is always present in his work but often in conjunction with other techniques such as film and sculpture; and he continues to explore new techniques and forms of expression. At Göteborgs Konstall amongst other works he shows Listening to Glenn Gould’s Version of the Goldberg Variations while Thinking about Carl Andre, 2010, a 10m long work made of 30 steel panels aligned in two rows, with Bach’s Goldberg Variations blasted into the rough surface.

His work is often about literature, music or selected works from art history, including Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Cello Suites, Philip Glass’ Contrary Motion, the Quran, Sigmund Freud’s The Uncanny, William Turner or Caravaggio. Themes explored pertain to art, time, memory and life – that which may be described as the ego’s existential system of reference in space. Khan’s images, sculptures and videos, repetitive actions take place in which the memory of the preceding event lingers on and actively affects the following one.

In 2006 Iniva jointly commissioned Idris Khan’s film debut with Victoria Miro Gallery   “Idris Khan: A Memory… After Bach’s Cello Suites. It is a layered film in which cellist Gabriella Swallow plays excerpts from Bach’s Six Suites for the Cello Solo. Khan’s fascination with Bach’s Cello Suites is rooted in the fact that a number of different versions have been published and each performer brings their own knowledge and interpretation, so these fragments of music are repeated but never the same.

Born in 1978 in Birmingham, England, Idris Khan lives and works in London. He was educated at the Royal College of Art, London. Since 2004 he has exhibited widely internationally.