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Idris Khans Photographic Practice

This art of postproduction seems to respond to the proliferating chaos of global culture in the information age, which is characterized by an increase in the supply of works and the art world’s annexation of forms ignored or disdained until now’. Idris Khan is a British artist and photographer, born in 1978 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. His mother is a trained pianist and professionally a nurse and his father is a doctor. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Derby and a Master of Fine Art from the Royal College of Art. He is a non practising Muslim, much to his parents’ disgust. He claims to have a spiritual relationship with Islam but not an educational one (Lord, 2009). Idris Khan’s artwork comprises of uniting books, mystical texts, philosophical work, psychoanalytical criticism, and sheets of music by superimposition of their digital photographs or scanned images. He does not appropriate works of art, history, literature and music on a thematic basis. He aims to see each page of a text at the same time, hear every note of a piece of music at the same instant and view each work of an artist at the same time. The resulting artwork does not resemble a digital photograph, instead of a charcoal sketch or a pavement drawing. Nicholas Bourriaud’s concerns are applicable to Khan’s artwork as well as many other artists’ work. Khan’s creation of artwork is a tedious process of turning pages of books and musical scores, scanning page after page, hunting for any mark of individuality among the well-organized printed lines, taking photographs of artwork, and using Photoshop to superimpose the individual scans or photographs to create the unison of incomprehensible words, marks, and lines. He refers to this process as being a palimpsest: the habit of ancient Greeks and Romans to reuse manuscripts by scraping off the texts .writing again over the top, leaving a textual residue embossed in the background of the page.

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