As Kahn developed so did his production methods, and with a representation by the gallery Friedman Benda, everything is possible. Kahn's work is now being collected by museums and private collectors interested in the most cutting-edge expression of contemporary design. The new exhibition, entitled 'Soft Bodies, Hard Spaces' marks the evolution of the vocabulary and the definition of a distinctive, signature style. The Chaos is there, the imagination, and so the adventure, while all informed by the theme softness, which is everywhere. Softness, to Kahn embodies us, people. Softness also marks an optimistic attitude for the goodness in the world.
The visit to the show with Kahn was rewarding. In his personal, open, candid style, he spoke about the process of creating this ambitious show, about the obstacles, experimentation, teaching us all how to better engage with his objects. Each of them has its own story, not only for what it says, but also for the way it was fabricated. Glass, wood, bronze, fiberglass, ceramics, textile, are all used in his own way in creating interlocking forms and objects of fantasy. There are many wonderful pieces here, and I particularly loved the room divider (above), which resulted from a recent residency at Corning Glass, where free-formed blocks of colorful glass were fitted into an irregular skeleton cast in aluminum. For my, the wooden table is the least successful piece in the show, as I sense that Kahn's vocabulary is better expressed in fiberglass, metal, stone, and glass.
One of the most touching components of Kahn's work is the fresh, almost naïve way in which he thinks about materials and processes, where each piece is resolved individually, and then comes to play a role in the whole story. He demonstrates that creating design today has to come from within, that it has to represent originality and uncommonness, that the visible is only one layer in the way we should engage with his objects. And what seems 'fun' at first sight, is actually a product of long research, of endless experimentation, of taking risks, and of thinking outside of the box.
The exhibition is open at Friedman Benda through April 4.