textile, embroidery, ink
15 × 17 × 1 in
Out of Print
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
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”.
Reminiscence 7 is an epic study of alienation that holds both universal and personal ramifications. The book asks the questions we have all asked, in part, because the book is a projection of the reader. Khan’s books always acknowledge the reader’s (and the book’s) subjectivity, and she is consistently successful in catalyzing readers into inner dialogs with the contents of her books. Whether it be the oppressive and comic illustration of the giant thumbs (“under my thumb”?) or the profound yet echoing, angsty, adolescent soliloquy of the text, and its glorious material echoing, the book, in its ambition and size, submerges us in Khan’s adept illumination of this particular emotional tidal wave.