Miriam Cahn


8 oct – 4 apr 2021

In her first solo exhibition in Denmark, the acclaimed Swiss artist Miriam Cahn (b. 1949) presents selected works from an extensive and versatile body of work. The exhibition includes works done in chalk, charcoal, pastel and watercolour on paper, oil paintings, photography and text. The many figurative works are vastly different in scale; some are part of larger series. Here, they have all been put together and installed with great dynamic energy by the artist herself, joining up to form a single, cohesive statement: ME AS HAPPENING.

An uncompromising artist, Miriam Cahn has applied a feminist perspective throughout her career. An insistence on equality has always been a fundamental value for her. Anger and dissatisfaction become driving forces behind her creativity, impelling her to challenge centuries of male-dominated art history – for example by assigning a new, active role to the women depicted in art. In Miriam Cahn’s work, women are not shy and bashful creatures that avert their eyes; they look the viewer directly in the eye. They have a prominent, powerful sexuality that is not hidden away. They give birth to children. They age. Issues associated with the human body and power relations are uncovered, and topical conflicts such as migration, war and flight are investigated. Other works take their starting point in the mountain landscape of southern Switzerland, where she lives.

The exhibition title points to what is happening right here and now: the selection and juxtaposition of these specific works in precisely these spaces. It is also a reference to the ‘happenings’ of the 1960s, which centred on the artist’s own body. The body takes centre stage for Miriam Cahn, too: for her, creating works in the studio and then installing them in exhibition spaces is a physical activity closely linked to the body and its capabilities.

Miriam Cahn is a leading figure among her generation of artists. Drawing on her own experiences and observations, she often returns to previous works to establish connections and conversations between the personal, the natural and the historical. This exhibition comprises works from the last 25 years, including a number of new works. Joined up by the artist’s own dynamic installation hang, they have become ME AS HAPPENING.

About the artist
Miriam Cahn (born in Basel, 1949) lives and works in Stampa, Switzerland. Recent solo exhibitions include Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing (2020); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2019); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2019); Kunsthaus Bregenz (2019); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2019); and Kunstmuseum Bern (2019). She has participated in numerous group exhibitions at various venues internationally, including 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018); Documenta 14, Kassel and Athens (2017); São Paulo Museum of Art (2017); and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2016).

Miriam Cahn: ME AS HAPPENING at Kunsthal Charlottenborg is curated by Henriette Bretton-Meyer and supported by Pro Helvetia, Møbeltransport Danmark Fine Art, The Obel Family Foundation, The Danish Arts Foundation and The Embassy of Switzerland in Denmark. The exhibition is organized and circulated by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto where it will take place in 2021.