You know those exquisite photographs of space that surface every now and again on desktops, facebook pages, and the cover of National Geographic? I’m talking about the images NASA has captured of supernovas, exploding stars, and glaxies thick with cosmic dust, twinkling stars and shocking clouds of color. From a distance of meters, not light years, the work of Idris Khan at Galerie Thomas Schulte beckons with the same allure of those photographs, promising infinite wonders, otherworldly beauty, and the magic of creation.
Let’s take a closer look. The large-scale wall drawing in the atrium visible from the street consists of lines of text “applied by stamp in radiating trajectories.” The text is illegible from a distance, but the effect is pure magic: an effervescent sunburst that defies its two-dimensional nature. Once inside, the impact of the monumental installation is no less profound — the unique perspective created by Khan’s technique leaves you feeling as though you are wandering through a cloud of light, life, and the great unknown co-created by you, the space, and the artist himself.
Back to Life, Back to Reality
Moving beyond the atrium, the work darkens in both content and color. It’s as though the frame of reference has suddenly changed, zooming back in on the specific, the individual, and the nostaligic after staring too long into the boundless expanse of our universe. And yet, once again I find myself awed from a distance and seduced into moving closer, only to find myself shocked by the detail, the depth and the distinction of what I discover. No illegal substances needed for an other-wordly experience here!
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