Stanya Kahn is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in video with a practice that includes sound design, writing, drawing, and performance. Humor, pathos, and the uncanny emerge as central modes in a hybrid media practice that seeks to re-work relationships between fiction and document, the real and the hyper-real, narrative time and the synchronic time of impulse. Kahn’s video practice incorporates formal cinematic and sound strategies to place poetic and experimental content inside loaded social contexts, in an effort to complicate and illuminate both. Combining scripts with improvisation, the work allows affective agency in its making. In a long-term investigation of how rhetoric gains and loses power, Kahn’s projects often situate language in the foreground of works that are dialectically driven by the demands of the body.
Recent solo exhibitions include shows at the New Museum/NY, Pigna Projectspace in Rome, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects and Cornerhouse in Manchester, a survey of works from 2008 to 2012 with accompanying monograph. Kahn is a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow in Film/Video. She has collaborated with Harry Dodge, Ishmael HoustonJones, the performance company CORE, and was a contributing writer and co-star in the award-winning independent feature film By Hook or By Crook. Solo and collaborative works (with Dodge) have shown in The Whitney Biennial (08); The California Biennial (10); MoMA/NY; MOCA/LA; The Getty Center/LA, the Hammer Museum/LA; the Sundance Film Festival; Migrating Forms Film Festival/NY; MOCA San Diego; the Center for Art and Media/Karlsrühe; PS1 Museum of Contemporary Art/NY; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Elizabeth Dee Gallery/NY, among others. Kahn’s recent feature length experimental narrative film Don’t Go Back to Sleep, produced with support from Grand Arts (Kansas City, MO), premiered in LA at Vielmetter LA and the Hammer Museum and in New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in December 2014. The work had a UK premiere at Cornerhouse in Manchester in May 2015 and a solo exhibition at Marlborough Chelsea, NY, in September 2015. Forthcoming are a book of drawings published by 2nd Cannons and a chapter in the anthology Abstract Video: The Moving Image in Contemporary Art, ed. by Gabrielle Jennings, UC Press. Kahn is currently Adjunct Faculty at Art Center College of Art and Design, LA, UCLA and the San Francisco Art Institute.