Idris Khan
Beginning at the End

Idris Khan
Beginning at the End

Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde

Idris Khan, Time and Eternity (detail), 2013. Oil base relief ink on screened 410 gsm acid-free paper, 100 x 118 cm.
March 18, 2013

Idris Khan
Beginning at the End

18 March–21 April 2013

Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde

Al Quoz 1, St 8, Al Serkal Ave, #17

PO Box 18217

Dubai, UAE

T/F +971 (0)4 323 5052

info [​at​]

Idris Khan is a seminal artist of his generation, known for his minimal, yet emotionally charged photographs, drawings, videos and sculptures. He has transformed texts, musical scores, dances and artworks into investigations of appropriation, time, and memory. Digitally layering photographs or film clips of the appropriated material, he creates dense accumulations that empathise with the past while engaging with contemporary discourses. Individual notes, words and images become translucent marks and traces that form new, contemplative, patterns and rhythms.

Beginning at the End introduces a transformative new body of work that reveals a deep investigation of creation—both of the self and of art. Inspired by the Black on Black works of many abstract expressionists, Khan uses black oil-based ink on black-screened paper to create drawings that pay tribute to artists of the movement such as Ad Reinhardt and Frank Stella, amongst others.   

Khan has created ten passages of writing, and with each an artwork, responding to the words of 9th-century Islamic philosophers such as Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushd and Al-Ghazali. For each piece, Khan committed a process of transcription and translation into Arabic, working with Louisa Macmillan (formally the Eisler Curator of Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art at the British Museum). Creating different radial formations by hand-stamping the Arabic script, Khan directs his practice inwards towards a journey of self-discovery. The works transcend the essence of the words while containing the weight of the metaphysical concepts from which they were derived.

In the gallery itself Khan installs a wall drawing entitled The Essence of this Existence by meticulously stamping the texts that make up the ten drawings with black and blue oil-based ink onto a prepared gesso wall. The tension between the start of a work and its completion, between its essence and its meaning, are part of an exploration into the relationship art has to its creators and subsequently to its viewers.

Idris Khan was born in Birmingham in 1978 and lives and works in London. He has held Museum solo exhibitions internationally at The Whitworth Gallery, Manchester; Goteborgs Konsthall, Sweden; and K20, Dusseldorf and has featured in numerous group exhibitions in museums and institutions alike, including The Saatchi Gallery, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York; The British Museum, London; and MOCA, Toronto. His work is included in institutional collections such as The Government Art Collection, London; The British Museum, London; The De Young Museum, San Francisco; The Museum of New South Wales, Sydney; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Guggenheim Collection, New York; Pompidou Centre, Paris; MOCA Miami; and The National Gallery, Washington D.C.


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Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde
March 18, 2013

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