Miriam Cahn “GEZEICHNET”
Miriam Cahn, pflanzenfrau, 22./23.3 + 1.8. 2000. Courtesy of the artist, Meyer Riegger, Berlino/Karlsruhe and Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris. Photo credits Dario Lasagni.


Fondazione ICA
Via Orobia, 26, 20139 Milano MI


18 Mar 2022 - 28 May 2022



Miriam Cahn “GEZEICHNET”

Miriam Cahn’s work finds its core in life, made manifest through the representation of the body. The main characters of her works, which at a first glance elude the distinction between human and non-human, recall, through the evocative force of lines and colours, crucial themes of the present time such as impotence in face of traumas and violence suffered, the origin of a new life and the search for a coexistence between human beings, animals and nature.

With her works, Cahn activates an overturning of the medium of painting, that from a traditional genre becomes an instrument of reflection used to thoroughly investigate European and global history.

Drawing inspiration from performance art and the feminist movements of the 60s and 70s, Miriam Cahn’s work often placed the body at the center of the creative process. Since the early 1980s her works have revealed a strong performative value, where the artist’s body often turned into a real artistic medium. It was during this period that Cahn established herself on the international scene. In 1982 she participated in Documenta 7, however choosing to remove her works from the prestigious event as a sign of protest. In 1983 her works were presented at the Kunsthalle in Basel, on the occasion of a solo exhibition curated by Jean-Christophe Ammann. In 1984 she was selected for the 41st edition of the Venice Biennale to represent her country, Switzerland. During the 90s the artist experienced a radical transformation of her practice, abandoning the monumental drawings that made her internationally known and giving a greater attention to the pictorial medium.

Over the last twenty years Miriam Cahn has developed her own iconography, which exploits the evocative potential of colour to convey strong themes such as human conflict, war, real scenarios and inner worlds.

The works presented in Gezeichnet are the result of an artist’s research who makes painting a real tool of thought. The figures that emerge from Miriam Cahn’s canvases and drawings tell their stories through the incredible vulnerability of their bodies. From the violence of historical events to sudden passions, from the loss of social ties to the unpredictability of birth and death, Miriam Cahn’s images identify exposure to vulnerability as one of the fundamental existential conditions of our human being.