Haus der Kunst presents a comprehensive exhibition of Miriam Cahn's (*1949, in Basel) five-decade career with central works from across her oeuvre, on the occasion of her 70th birthday. Cahn’s early films and sculptures, larger than life chalk drawings, and paintings all commandingly question gender and power structures. Through the politicization of the private, the woman and her body, Cahn has from the beginning pushed alternative narratives in the visual arts which have contributed to a more nuanced perception of the female lifeworld. The questioning of discriminatory patterns of representation and their public appearance stems from Cahn's interest in reflecting media-mediated reality. Due in part to her family history, themes of flight and expulsion form an important concern, which Cahn addresses in part as processes of public perception. Many of her groups of works reflect on current political events and their consequences, such as the Gulf or Yugoslav wars, as well as on international terror and the ongoing conflict in Syria. Her color-rich painting feeds on a representation of the inward and exerts an intense attraction despite an often disconcerting sense of menace and ambiguity. Cahn's imagery is characterized by a high level of empathy – a commitment to humanity. Her work has been honored with inclusion at the 14th Venice Biennale (1984) or most recently at Documenta 14 (2017).
The exhibition at Haus der Kunst examines Cahn's artistic strategies, which feed on a keen interest in physical experience and the body. With more than 200 works from all central phases of the artist’s career, the exhibition presents the broad spectrum of Cahn’s work and a radically expanded understanding of painting.
The exhibition is realized in cooperation with the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw. A publication by Haus der Kunst will accompany the exhibition.
Curated by Jana Baumann