layers of exploded writing comprise idris khan’s overture at sean kelly gallery
photography by jason wyche, new york / courtesy of sean kelly, new york




idris khan: overture
sean kelly, new york
now through october 24, 2015



new york’s sean kelly gallery presents ‘overture’ by idris khan, presenting more than 25 new works that explore philosophical and theoretical ideas surrounding global displacement and conflict. the exhibition embodies the london-based artist’s thoughtful investigation into language over a wide variety of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, works on paper, and, for the first time, works on glass. khan’s unique narrative — which draws from literary, artistic, philosophical and musical sources — meets between abstraction and figuration, communicating themes of history, experience and the metaphysical collapse of time into singular moments.

overture, 2015
7 glass sheets, aluminum frame / 96 x 78 x 156 inches (243.8 x 198.1 x 396.2 cm)




in this new body of work, khan goes through a continuous process of creating, erasing and adding new layers of writing, until all of the words meld into a single image. the result obscures any singular perspective and eliminates a definitive reading of the text. the multilayered approach creates a surreal sense of expanded time that asks the viewer to contemplate a deeper meaning buried within language, whether presented on large gesso panels, in a photograph or onto glass.


highlights of the exhibition include a monumental sculpture comprised of seven panes of glass suspended in an aluminum framework, with each pane containing words that form an abstract radial constellation, alongside and a large-scale, site-specific wall drawing created at the gallery.

overture, 2015




‘overture’ is presented by sean kelly gallery for frieze art fair during new york design week 2016

installation view of overture at sean kelly, new york

installation view of overture at sean kelly, new york

installation view of overture at sean kelly, new york

displacement, 2015
large scale stamped piece in situ / dimensions variable / unique

displacement, 2015