Idris Khan / Artist

Born 1978, London based artist; Idris Khan, creates large scale, stamped wall drawings, that I have used as the main subject in my dissertation and also found of incredible inspiration to my artwork. I visited his solo exhibition at The Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, to see his wall drawings in person and begin my analysis and enquiry for my work.

‘True belief belongs to real realms of knowledge’, October 2016, Wall drawing, Oil relief in on gesso ground

Khan creates these wall drawings by using letter stamps, containing sentences of his thoughts, which he repeatedly stamps to create the explosive motif we see on the wall. The undulating tonal effect was created by Khan’s thoughtful placement of each stamp.

As Khan was the main subject of my dissertation, I have already done vast research on him and analysed his work in depth. Through this I discovered that Khan’s wall drawings are a prime example of where image and text are so ‘intimately integrated’ the viewer is unsure whether the piece is an image or text artwork, something I am striving for in my own work.


The idea of ‘uncertainty’ constantly arises in Khans work, from the text or image decision, to the unsure aspect if the image is exploding out at you or rippling, and pulling you in. The illegibility of the text also adds to the treachery of Khan’s image, so overall the piece is constantly challenging you and leaves you with many questions.

The context of Khan’s work is usually his own thoughts towards a certain event, whether that being his grief towards his mothers and unborn child’s passing, or something that leads him to question god. Both of these are really pressing events to happen, I believe they are expressed through the explosive motif to suggest an overwhelming amount of thoughts.

Idris Khan is a big inspiration to me and I find his wall drawings of great importance and influence, I am in constant awe of his work, often referring back to his work and I strive to do what Khan is doing in my own work, analysing his work so closely, has brought out a lot in my own.



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