June 15, 2024


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Wyatt Kahn “Knots & Figures” at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Vienna

A syntax of irregular, disarticulated, and structured sorts typifies Wyatt Kahn’s a few-dimensional wall performs, assembled into compositions as abstract as they are connotative. Take into account A Bar, the place geometries of semi-round apertures, lower out of square enclosures, accumulate upon a dense floor, like seared-via coasters or 50 %-vacant eyeglasses left in disarray on a countertop. Or Untitled (Him and Us), which reprises a motif common to Kahn’s lexicon―a vertical entire body articulated as a result of the accumulation of a stack of slim, rib-like bands at its main, amplified, wrapped, even embraced by rigid U-formed arms that lace around and under the key ground. Anthropomorphizing metaphors crop up conveniently, as he playfully straddles the line in between geometric abstraction and figuration, in between painting and sculpture, all the while intervening in each and every category’s respective and entangled historical lineages and discourses. And then there are his titles: The Girl with Hoops, Acrobat. Kahn’s syntax, articulated in variety, is a grammar of symptoms inside of which language, far too, performs an essential purpose.

Acquire Standing Bather, an assembly of vertical edged columns staging a collecting of sorts—one that culls from the wide annals of artwork historic figures of the bather, only to render them in this article, unadorned, uncooked, unmodulated, as mere evocation. The subjects in this series, hinted at irrespective of the seeming abstraction of Kahn’s sorts, are deeply embedded in fields of reference spanning artwork record, but also the daily, the domestic, the own, the imagined: Acrobat might gesture to Picasso’s 1930 titular portraits of versatile figures contorting the human sort into inconceivable postures, but it may perhaps just as effortlessly evoke objects as quotidian as the action ladders in the artist’s studio and dwelling, to say nothing of the narrative choices that may perhaps arise from the conflation of both nouns. Kahn by no means altogether casts out the matter alternatively, it may possibly reappear only mainly because abstract geometries lend it new form.

Indeed, through his elaboration of the shaped canvas―a venture he has undertaken due to the fact the commence of his inventive career―Kahn has taken a unique solution to pictorial problems, refracted through a sculptural lens. If his operate has developed at the intersection of painting and sculpture, it has also, a lot more lately, intentionally revisited both equally mediums as impartial fields inside of which to reenact and often extend on–the experiments carried out at their crossing. In “Knots & Figures,” a new sequence of oil paintings on canvas, elaborated together with corresponding or linked formed canvases, compress the latter’s dimensional perform inside of a single pictorial plane. In their intricate overlays of lines, forms, shades, and strokes, Kahn’s oil paintings are like aggregates of the additive and subtractive treatments that inform his wall will work, reverse-engineered to redeploy these functions in a purely pictorial sign up. Below, figure and floor hover and supplant 1 one more fluidly, suspended at the floor that equally recedes and developments in depthless space. With these forms’ sculptural analogues in head, for Kahn, portray can hardly ever reassume its static position as the medium of illusion, nor can it simply just perform as the medium of flatness.

Unsurprising, but definitely not unremarkably, then, is Kahn’s embrace of higher-relief, virtually free of charge-standing sculpture in a new sequence of compact, forged bronzes. Although his sculpture has taken monumental dimension in his 2021 general public will work commissioned for outside display screen, these new bronzes are fewer environmental than they are item-like, personal, visceral even, in their literalization of the internal, official associations evoked in his “flat” wall-hung functions. Endowed with volume and mass, these sculptures render airplane and line in place: skinny serpentine strains grow to be intestinal conduits knotted and wrapped all around a central, supporting form defined by means of beneficial mass and slice-out voids. These are acquainted staples of the artist’s visual repertoire resurfaced, or reconstituted as additional than, past, surface―a transposition that, throughout mediums, materials, supports, and substrates, adds nonetheless a further dimension to Kahn’s ongoing project.

Rachel Valinsky

at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Vienna
until December 22, 2022