I always have had a “thing” so to speak for young London artists! For some reason they have an innate sense of instilling their art with a bit of sometimes the macabre. Which, as a good friend of mine, an art dealer just told, me, so does my personality and taste in art!
You’d be forgiven for not realising Idris Khan’s photos were actually photos at all. With their accretions of smudgy black marks, they look more like hand-rendered charcoal drawings than flat
snaps realised at the push of a button. Get up close, though, and the thick black lines dissolve into a spore-like buildup of words or musical notes. His images
are composites built from layered sheets of music, book pages, paintings or other photographs that seem to squeeze journeys in time – like reading or hearing music – into a single picture.
Frederick chopin’s nocturnes for the piano- (2004), for instance, is just what its title claims. The music sheets are photographed and manipulated on a computer by Khan to become a lone image whose blurred hieroglyphs seem to convulse. It’s as if each rendition of Chopin’s music could be seen rather than heard, experienced in one visual
cacophony. In Sigmund Freud-(2006), Khan uses the same technique on the psychoanalyst’s landmark essay on eerie recurrences. In the artist’s image, the crease at the book’s centre is built into a menacing well of darkness, like a trauma waiting to surface.
In fact, although the 31-year-old London-based artist was awarded the Photographer’s Gallery prize in 2004, he doesn’t consider himself a photographer. The camera was simply the tool he turned to as an aspiring art student who longed to paint or play music but couldn’t.