Waqas Khan’s work is a meditative pause in the present moment, taking the form of a series of highly precise yet organic patterns composed of dots or lines. Khan has been working on his exhibition at the Galerie Krinzinger in Vienna for the last year, conscientiously considering how to fill the giant exhibition space with his works and how his works will make the space visible. The exhibition, titled ‘Acoustics of Life/Parterre’ ran from Feb. 03–28, 2015 and left a profound impression on the international art scene. Ursula Blickle, gallery owner of Krinzinger, tells us emphatically, “I believe deeply in this artist, and I believe the works are becoming incredibly important for the art world. Collectors and museums already know it, we have a response that is just extraordinary.”
Production by Berlin Art Link, Filmed and Edited by Peter Cairns, Interview by Monica Salazar
Khan spent a three month residency in the Galerie Krinzinger Project Space while he was working on the pieces for the show. The works are unexpectedly site-specific and so much more than they appear from first glance: they need to be seen from multiple scales and on different registers to reveal various patterns and discontinuities. The result of the work is less the presentation of ink on paper drawings so much as the construction of a moment, a pause, a much needed silence.
Khan’s works escape capture in words and exist in excess of any explanation. It is not sufficient to simply describe what they are or how they look: they require the presence of the viewer to encounter them in their scale and in the gallery space. “I want the viewers to remember what they saw”, explains Khan, “they should remember what they saw, and they should have questions.”
Waqas has a remarkable intensity and is both eccentric and approachable. His character is evident in his unconventional working habits. Khan sleeping during the day and working at night, hunched over the paper, holding with both hands a permanent pen that records each stroke with an unforgivable precision, on special tables that he has to design himself in order to make the works. The works are an index of Khan’s working process and a story that he is telling. Alistair Hicks, senior curator for the Deutsche Bank, phrases it beautifully, saying that “you can never get at the words there, because there are no words. He is writing, he is talking but there are no words…This elusiveness, this trail, this quest is probably the underlying thing that I find really exciting in [Khan’s] work.”