Miriam Cahn‘s (b.1949, Basel) show at the Centre Culturelle Suisse includes works done over 25 years (from 1979 to 2014) and it’s the most comprehensive one ever done in France.
The exhibition developes in five distinct spaces and features various series of pieces: drawings, paintings, sketchbooks, photographs of street drawings.
A large section is dedicated to new paintings.
Cahn began drawing on the floor and on large-format sheets with black chalk in the 1970’s, she creates striking human figures that are infused with a troubling intensity in which woman exhibits her body in all its expressiveness.
She also draws menacing architectures along with warships, which echo man’s constructive and destructive follies. A rebel and activist, Cahn defends a form of feminism in her art practice. Later on in her career, she experimented with oil painting and bright colors, notably in her series of nuclear mushroom clouds. A significant part of her output has always comprised “portraits” of humans, animals or plants, often depicted facing the viewer and throbbing with an enigmatic presence.
In the 1990s, her work started to allude at times to political subjects like the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East, or the 9-11 terrorist attacks. She is currently evoking the situation in Syria while continuing her sensitive and expressive exploration of the body and nature.