Her interdisciplinary art practice—which straddles the line between fiction and documentary—stems from a background in performance. In her work, she often addresses themes of power, trauma and the uses and failings of language; pop culture references and humor are also sprinkled throughout.
The Structuring Strategies program title is a reference to Kahn’s 2010 digital video of the same name. The 35-minute piece—which will be screened on Tuesday along with Sandra (2009) and Kathy (2009)—features Kahn as a severely injured, bandaged patient. She’s seen in more than 20 locations throughout the city “seducing, harassing and charming caretakers into holding a video camera.”
Her tone is bemused and her attitude open. Her topics vary from horrible jokes to environmental degradation, and include discussions of the adaptability of various species of animals. Neither naive nor jaded, Kahn’s character comes somewhere between. She seems reasonable.
Sometimes you sense that her physical traumas have made her wise. At others she acts as if she’s on autopilot or cruise control, stuck at one setting because it’s too painful to risky anything more.
As an artist, Kahn mixes humor and horror with the best of them, blending beauty and banality like nobody’s business.
In addition to her solo work, Kahn is also known for her collaborations with artist Harry Dodge and with the performance company CORE. Her solo and collaborative works have shown in numerous venues, including The Whitney Biennial (08); The California Biennial (10); MoMA; MOCA; The Getty Center; the Hammer Museum and the Sundance Film Festival.
Structuring Strategies presents
Stanya Kahn: It’s Cool, I’m Good
CalArts’ Bijou Theater
Tuesday, April 12