The portraits Khan creates, of the city and of himself, are compelling but remain tightly sealed.

In 2011, Khan was the president of the jury of the Venice Biennale. The earliest works here, such as the pretty much unremarkable video collages Lungfan (a collaboration with Amr Hosny) and Do You Want to Fight? Of this rather inexpertly rendered form, Khan says: ‘This gesture is about the origin of civilization.’ Certainly his work is full of origins – Jewel, for instance, feels like the growth of culture from the murky digital depths. The highly stylized performances of actors teetering on the brink of complete loss of control in Host (2007),the brutal haunting computer-generated imagery and eerie algorithmic logic of 2013 (2019) as well as the grotesquerie of the large stuffed creatures are all driven by an intense interest in sublimating real conditions into something that is viscerally generative and surprising. (both 1995), he made as an undergraduate. Before beginning to exhibit his work in art spaces in the late 1990s, Khan was deeply involved in Cairo’s alternative cultural scene and is considered a pioneer in both the fields of experimental music and video. Sentences for a New Order: now changes, 2018, Contemporary Middle Eastern and North African Art. But he is usually best when he is most concise. Khan is not yet 40, though this exhibition at SALT, the young institution’s first with a living artist, spanned some 17 years. Khan’s work partially deals with the precepts, gaps and energies that lie at the core of how a sense of self as well as a collective social order are formed.

His work engages with familiar, shared conditions and undisclosed personal references to arrive at forms that suggest imagined communities, raise fundamental questions, channel conditions simmering under the surface, seduce and alienate, engage with expectations, pose mysteries as well as help to re-articulate our experiences with shifting structures of power. As a musician he regularly performs his music live, for example at the Ruhrtriennale, Essen (2018), the Intonal Festival Malmö (2017), the Guggenheim Museum New York (2016), Maerz Musik Festival, Berlin (2013) and the Louvre, Paris (2012). Incorporating his own experiences growing up in Cairo, Khan has created conceptual works that attempt to construct a coherent narrative out of the city’s disparate citizens and phenomena. The artist considers the medium to not to be a sort of field that has to be mastered but rather a source of possibilities, potential as well as learning. Hashem Khan participated in Bangladesh liberation war and his many artworks on the war. Video, Musical compositions for spoken and dance theater, video installations, texts,, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai (Reopening Fall 2020), Darat al Funun - The Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman, Futura Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague, Stacion - Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Harvard Art Museums — Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, Arthur M. Sackler, Carpenter °, Mücsarnok Kunsthalle / Ernst Muzeum / Dorottya Galeria, Budapest, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, MUDAM Musée d´Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxemburg, Darat al Funun - 30th Anniversary Celebration, PERFORMANCE !

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