Idris Khan. The Seasons Turn. 13April15 May 2021. Victoria Miro, London, England.

Conceived of as two distinct installations, each a reflectionon aspects ofthe pastyear, The Seasons Turnincludes a suite of 28watercolour and oil collagedworks on paper thatincorporate fragments of the score ofVivaldi’sTheFour Seasons, and an environment ofenveloping blue paintingswhoserich bands of colourare layered with the artist’s thoughts, feelings and responses to 2020. Music in its written and played forms has long been a source of inspiration for Khan who, in two-and three-dimensional works and film, has reimagined the work of composers including Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert and Bach. In these new works Khan returns to Vivaldi’s baroque masterpiece The Four Seasons, using fragments of the violin concerti’s scores as a springboard for his own visual evocation of a calendar year. Khan’s work has often alluded to the excessive proliferation of information in the technical age, whilst simultaneously advocating for a slower, more considered way of looking. Forced to slow down during this period of lockdown, in these works he reflects on his own increased awareness of the changing rhythms and colours of the natural world.

Idris Khan has often drawn inspiration from key philosophical and theological texts in his work, yet increasingly his own writings have become a conduit for investigating memory, creativity and the layering of experience. Unified by the use of the colour blue, which the artist describes as having ‘an immediate effect on emotion’, a number paintings, some large scale, feature passages of texts in which Khan expresses thoughts, feelings and responses to 2020. Diaristic in nature, these texts, once repeated and layered in sonorous blue oil, are distilled, a number fragmentary experiences and disparate ideas becoming a single image. In this manner, while Khan ultimately eradicates the meaning of the original text, he constructs an abstract and universal language. Moving between the works in a specially conceived installation, the viewer becomes aware of the way in which each painting is subtly different, the horizontal bands appearing to rise and fall almost like breathing, shifting in a rhythmic way that also relates to the musicality of the works in his Vivaldi series. It is in this contemplative space that both the processes of Minimalist art and allusions to the role of repetition in the world’s major religions are brought into focus – as a vehicle for transcendence and a conduit of the sublime.

Born in Birmingham in 1978, Idris Khan completed his Master’s Degree at the Royal College of Art and lives and works in London.Idris Khan was appointed OBE for services to Art in the Queen’s Birthday 2017 Honours List.In 2023, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA will present the first career survey exhibition by the artist in the United States. A major survey exhibition Idris Khan: A World Withinwas held at The New Art Gallery Walsall in February 2017, with solo presentations of the artist’s work previously staged at national and international institutional venues including the Whitworth Gallery, University of Manchester (2016–2017 and 2012); Sadler’s Wells, London (2011); Gothenburg Konsthall, Sweden (2011); Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2010); Kunsthaus Murz, Mürzzuschlag, Austria (2010) and K20, Düsseldorf (2008). His work has also been included in group shows at the National Gallery of Art, Washington (2015); Bass Museum of Art, Miami (2014–2015); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2014); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2013); Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, Florida (2013); The British Museum, London (2012); National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (2012); Fundament Foundation, Tilburg (2011); Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, NewYork (2010); and Martin-Gropius Bau, Berlin (2009).