Idris Khan - Photographs London Friday, October 25, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Description

    Please note, if this lot is imported to the USA it will be subject to an import tariff. Please speak to a member of the Department for further details.

  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist, 2004
    Private Collection, London

  • Literature

    Idris Khan: every…, Bielefeld: Kerber, 2008, p. 23

  • Catalogue Essay

    every…Bernd and Hilla Becher Prison Type Gasholder, 2004, the work offered here, is an exceptional example of Idris Khan’s digitally layered composite photographs of known cultural subjects for which he first gained wide acclaim. Drawing inspiration from master photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher and their pursuit to create typologies of industrial-era structures, such as water towers and gas holders, Khan reimagines their series through a seemingly contrasting process of superimposing and condensing, resulting in entirely new works. The present image was created by scanning every Becher photograph of a prison type gasholder taken over 30 years across Europe and the United States and then digitally layering them. Khan explains that ‘this time-consuming procedure is an integral part of the work, not least because it reminds [him] of the time it took to produce the original.’ His technique of layering the digital scans produces an intensity of tone at the centre of the image while allowing the subtle details of individual structures to radiate towards the outer edges. Resembling a drawing, the resulting large-scale work with its ghostly outlines is haunting, reminding us of the passage of time as these industrial relics continue to disappear.

    Idris Khan’s 2004 homage to the Bechers’ typologies resulted in the present work, every…Bernd and Hilla Becher Prison Type Gasholder, as well as two others: Spherical Type Gasholders and Gable Sided Houses. Shortly after Bernd Becher’s death in 2007, Khan created another composite photograph based on their work, this time titling it Homage to Bernd Becher.

    The London-based artist was appointed an OBE for services to the arts in 2017 and has exhibited his work in many international institutions, including the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Tate Britain, London. His works reside in such prestigious institutions as the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.



every…Bernd and Hilla Becher Prison Type Gasholder

Chromogenic print, flush-mounted.
Image: 134 x 105.2 cm (52 3/4 x 41 3/8 in.)
Frame: 140 x 111.3 cm (55 1/8 x 43 7/8 in.)

Signed, titled, dated and numbered 1/5 in ink on the reverse of the flush-mount.

£30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for £47,500

Contact Specialist
Genevieve Janvrin
Co-Head of Photographs, Europe
Yuka Yamaji
Co-Head of Photographs, Europe

General Enquiries
+44 20 7318 4092


London Auction 25 October 2019