Arms Are Overrated: An Artist’s Talk by Stanya Kahn

Artist’s Talk by Stanya Kahn

Stanya Kahn is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in video, with a practice that includes performance, writing, sound design, drawing, animation and digital media. Kahn’s hybrid media practice borrows from pop vernacular, documentary tropes, improvisation, comedy and experimental film/video praxis in its re-working of signs, function and meanings in narrativity. The work often inhabits spaces between fiction and document and stems from an extensive background in live performance. Integrating the scripted with the candid, Kahn addresses issues like agency, power, trauma and the uses and failings of language.

“Stanya Kahn’s first solo exhibition at this gallery features three thirty- to forty-minute videos that smack of YouTube vernacular: handheld camera; on-camera mic; footage of friends, family, and little kids playing piano. Closer observation reveals masterful application of Eisensteinian editing, with meticulously choreographed sound tracks and threads of epistemological ruminations that indicate a philosophical conscientiousness that’s often overlooked in conversations about Kahn’s work. Each video canvasses the concerns and coping mechanisms of a contemporary subject who is forging her way through a world in crisis. Before you roll your eyes at the apparent pedantry of it all, consider that each work is peppered with slyly subversive jokes––about butts, blondes, and sex––as well as remarkable personal stories and an impressive stream of eclectic facts about animals, ecology, and health. Kahn’s characters are contemporary flaneurs, and each is steadfast on a physical or linguistic dérive that takes the viewer through narratives of mortality, trauma, family, and the ethics of civic and ecological responsibility.”
Micol Hebron, Stanya Kahn, Critics Pick, Artforum, 2010

In addition to her solo work, Kahn has been in collaborative teams with artist Harry Dodge and with the performance company CORE. Her solo and collaborative works have shown in numerous venues nationally and internationally including The Whitney Biennial (2008); The California Biennial (2010); MoMA/NY; MOCA/LA; The Getty Center/LA, the Hammer Museum/LA; the Sundance Film Festival; Migrating Forms Film Festival; the Center for Art and Media/Karlsrühe; PS1 Museum of Contemporary Art/NY; Contemporary Center for Art/Vilnius, Lithuania; MIT, Cambridge; ICA, Philadelphia; Kunstalle, Bonn, Germany; The Brooklyn Museum, NY; The Hayward Gallery, London; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles and Elizabeth Dee Gallery/NY, among many others. Recently solo shows include the New Museum in New York and currently on view at Cornerhouse in Manchester is a survey of her solo works from 2008 to the present with an accompanying book. Kahn is a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow in Film/Video.

This event is free and open to the public.