Idris Khan 'The devil's wall'
April 13 - May 14, 2011
Yvon Lambert is pleased to announce The Devilʼs Wall, Idris Khanʼs second solo
show with the gallery. This exhibition will feature new photographic works, drawings,
and an installation by the artist. The Devilʼs Wall will open with a reception for the
artist on Wednesday, April 13 from 6-8pm and will be on view until May 14, 2011.
Idris Khan employs literary text, digital photographs, and musical scores to create works that call into question modes of
appropriation, religion, authorship and abstraction. Khanʼs artistic practice follows patterns and rules that blur the rigid
cultural boundaries between the secular and spiritual. History and culture are the building blocks for his art, as he layers
original images over each other to make a single work that reveals the texture and delicacy of the subject.
For The Devilʼs Wall, Khan will exhibit a new installation based on his interest in the ritual and solitude of the stoning of the
Jamarat, an aspect of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca made by millions of Muslims each year. During this act, pilgrims chant
and throw seven stones at three walls in three different locations, with each wall representing the devil. Although this
experience is a communal one, the pilgrims are encouraged to turn their attention inward, through contemplation and
meditation, to rid their spirit of impure thoughts, which ultimately brings them closer to the divine. For this sculptural
installation, Khan removes the three walls, leaving only the circular dish in which the stones gather after hitting the wall.
The gesture of throwing is paramount in this work as the artist focuses on the transference of thoughts into objects and
text. Khan represents this evolution by embedding traces of words into the objectʼs surface and having the words subtly
disappear into the central vortex of the sculpture.
Khan exhibits a new work entitled 21 Stones, comprised of twenty-one drawings, an entirely new medium for the artist. He
rhythmically stamps his own thoughts and wishes onto paper, offering a secular approach to the spiritual practices of
meditation evoked by the installation. Also on view during The Devilʼs Wall will be four photographic works based on New
York minimalist music of the late 1960s. In these photographs, Khan also utilizes the square shapes celebrated by
minimalist artists such as Agnes Martin and Robert Ryman. Listening to the music of minimalist composers, including
Philip Glass and John Adams, demands a prolonged level of concentration as the repeated musical patterns carries the
listener away from their immediate thoughts. Khan likens these rhythmical patterns to the actions of millions of pilgrims
throwing stones or chanting the same words to create an endless sound. In Contrary Motion, the artist uses a type of
music that has no true conclusion, which Glass refers to as “open-form.” The composite image created by Khan exposes
the process of accumulation and creates a seemingly endless pattern; only a blurred line highlights the slight changes in
the repetition. The artistʼs delicate process of overlapping surfaces to reach a metaphysical space of emptiness is evoked
throughout this exhibition, as Khan presents nothingness as an object, allowing for the space of the spiritual to envelop
Idris Khan (b. 1978, Birmingham, England) lives and works in London. He has had solo exhibitions at international venues including:
Elementa, Dubai; Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; Victoria Miro, London; K 20, Dusseldorf; and Fraenkel Gallery, San
Francisc. He has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions at venues including: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New
York; The Saatchi Gallery, London; Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris; Baibakov Art Projects, Moscow; Institute of Contemporary Arts
London, London; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; and the Helsinki Kunsthalle, Finland.