ME AS HAPPENING
In her first major solo exhibition in Denmark, Miriam Cahn presents an expansive body of work in the entire North Wing of Kunsthal Charlottenborg. Encompassing works in chalk, charcoal, pastel and water colour on paper as well as oil paintings — from the diminutive to the monumental — and film and photography, the exhibition explores critical issues of our time, seen through the prism of feminism. Uncompromising and confrontational, Cahn has conscientiously explored a series of themes over the course of her career, including women’s rights, identity, sexuality, conflict and space. Her work challenges the conventions of art history, contemporary connoisseurship and how an artist engages with the world.
Kunsthal Charlottenborg presents some of these themes in distinct yet interrelated constellations of works. Central to these themes is the position of women in society today, and their continued worldwide fight for basic rights and equality. Some of the works discredit socially constructed clichés about gender roles, other works interrogate the human body and the dynamics of intimacy, exploring the relationship between sex, violence and power.
In this exhibition, Cahn makes a nod to 1960s “happenings,” and highlights the pivotal role that movement plays in the creation of her work. Cahn draws from past and present experiences and observations, and often revisits previous work to establish a dialogue between the personal, natural and historical. Depictions of human beings’ heads and bodies abound in her work, reflecting on private and family memories. She also includes imagery of plants, animals and unrecognizable creatures. More recently, Cahn has been contemplating contemporary migrations in which women and children find themselves especially vulnerable. Recalling the history of persecuted populations in Europe, Cahn sympathizes with the displacement of Middle Eastern, African and other exiles fleeing their troubled homelands, who risk death in the course of their journey to Europe, or endure hostility of the inhabitants of places where they hope to take refuge. Cahn’s work aims to hold Europe accountable for maintaining its democratic ideals while challenging the divisive rhetoric of nationalistic political parties that seek a fantasy of a “pure Europe” in today’s inextricably linked world.
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 (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 The Obel Family Foundation and The Danish Arts Foundation. The exhibition is organized and circulated by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto where it will take place in 2021.