Astrology tells us that about every 27 years, Saturn returns to the same place in the sky that it occupied at the moment of a person’s birth, and that this is a good time to review one’s life. Kahn, now approaching 27 years old, takes stock of his life up until this point.
Friedman Benda invites you to Return of Saturn: Coming of Age in the 21st Century, American designer Misha Kahn’s free form installation in the gallery’s project space. A reception for the artist will be held on Thursday, February 25th, 6:00-8:00pm.
“As I sort through my nearly 27 years, I realize I have been wildly inspired by objects I wasn’t sure if I loved or hated,” says Misha Kahn. Return of Saturn is about the objects people keep in their dark, lonely emotional basements. It’s about stored memories. It is about loving something lightly, without being able to explain why. It’s a survey of the apathetic nostalgia of a millennial reviewing a life defined by the acquisition of items—things left on the sidewalk after college graduation would be gobbled up by hoarders in minivans, or lost in the abyss of thrift store donation bins and only vaguely remembered years later. These possessions are what inspire Kahn; they are shadowed in his new work, and emerge reborn in this installation of mostly indeterminate categorization.
The exhibition contains work in wood, resin, vinyl, spun copper, basketry, glass, cement, aluminum and bronze, as well as pre-peeled wallpaper and a twenty-foot wide woven mohair tapestry. The installation marries earth with space, craft with technology, and the phenomenal with the pedestrian.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is a 12-foot wide hand-woven mohair tapestry depicting a landscape inspired by Jell-O-molds. Humorous and surreal, the tapestry incorporates all manner of found materials, and the composition is reminiscent of medieval tapestries, great battle scene paintings, and riverscapes. Other pieces on view include tables made from wood, rock, and scrap, a China-cabinet made of woven basketry, and a UFO-chandelier of spun copper.
Kahn describes his show as a “survey of uncertainty and possibility.” Unlike the experience exhibition-goers have when viewing objects isolated in a white box, Kahn wants visitors to experience what they might feel if seated in a basement easy chair surrounded by life-long remnants of things of great importance and no importance at all. Kahn says his objects are “meant to encourage comfort with one’s own mental chaos.”
About Misha Kahn
Misha Kahn has emerged as one of the leading creative voices of his generation. Through a wildly imaginative approach that embraces spontaneity and non-conformity, Kahn allows the illogical and the irreverent to take over his entire process. He employs everything from lo-fi and ad hoc techniques—such as improvisational molds and collage—to virtual reality and other high-tech tools.
Born in Duluth, Minnesota in 1989, Kahn graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 2011 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Furniture Design. Soon after, he gained recognition when he was featured in the Museum of Arts and Design’s Biennial (2014).
Unafraid to push boundaries, Kahn is determined to question the accepted way of doing things, driving him to self-invent, adapt, and further processes in a myriad of mediums including metalwork, glass, wood, textiles, ceramic, bronze casting, fiberglass, and cement. Voracious to upend traditional techniques, he embraces the opportunity to learn from masters in their respective crafts. Kahn’s acclaimed woven Scrappy series (since 2015), is the result of a collaboration with Gone Rural, a female group of traditional weavers based in Swaziland.
His work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collection of museums such as the Corning Museum of Glass, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX and Speed Museum of Art, Louisville, KY.
Kahn lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.