textile, embroidery, ink
10 × 6.5 × 1 in
Out of Print
SMFA at Tufts, School of the Museum of Fine Arts
Booklyn is proud to introduce Pakistani artist Halah Khan. Khan’s visceral and exceptionally evocative unique books are rooted in her elegant and passionate poetry. Her poetry is intricately and boldly embroidered over her exuberant expressionistic paintings which cover the deceptive simplicity and directness of her book forms. While elegant and functional her book forms are also complex and carefully designed sculptural structures that emulate the emotional and existential terrain she explores so courageously. To page one of Khan’s books is to be unmoored in time and space, one becomes as vulnerable as the characters in her books, open to the strong feelings that any total immersion catalyzes. Her work challenges conventional notions of chronology and subjectivity, one is never sure if one is reading a book from ancient times or some odd codex from the future sent back in time as some sort of harbinger of things to come. Khan’s books are never just about things, they are not narratives that describe some imaginary world, neither are they reportage. When you dance with one of Halah Khan’s books, there is no easy way for the music to end, the aesthetic experience is a totality that is difficult to describe, except by saying, “one must dance with these books”.
The poetry in Reminiscence 6 is contained both in the stark verse but also in the construction of the embroideries, the intricate collaged elements of dried flowers, knotting, and dyed cloth. The book seems to have encapsulated some other mystery book in its floral material fertility. The enigmatic feel of this book on your fingers is indescribable, one operates the book like some oblivious infant completely absorbed by the tactility and its elusive relationship to the dramatic finality of the text. One’s eyes, fingertips and mind ceaselessly trying to find some resolution to the perplexity that Kahn evokes.
“I will leave and all will be at peace.”