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Miriam Cahn


Miriam Cahn — Born 1949, Basel, Switzerland. Lives and works in Bergell, Switzerland. Represented by Meyer Riegger, Berlin/Karlsruhe/Basel.


Influenced by performance art and the feminist movement of the 1960-70s, Miriam Cahn developed her work in the 1980s incorporating large, black drawings of warships, fighter jets and other seemingly male-dominated vernacular. Back then she was often using a her body to create the drawing in a performative act. The performative aspect is just as valid as the corporeality with which her work develops. The body is not only the subject of contemplation, but also serves the artist as a medium.


Cahn came to international prominence with three successive and unprecedented opportunities: an inclusion in Documenta 7 in 1982 (in which she removed her work out of protest), a solo show at Kunsthalle Basel 1983, and a solo presentation at the 41st Venice Biennale in 1984 representing her country of Switzerland. 


Decades later at age 50, she made a radical move in her practice when she decided to leave the monumental drawings for an equally intuitive painting practice. This move was a direct evolution of the result of 30 years of drawing and performing. Cahn began using color in 1994, turned on to the formal and psychological power of mass media imagery and its gradual saturation. She cites Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1964 film Il deserto rosso as a work that exposed her to the hyper-reality of color. With exquisite sensitivity, Cahn uses color to highlight choice parts of her figures — principally breasts, lips, or eyes — suggesting fragility and fecundity and endowing her figures with a sense of inner life. The body, human conflict, home, war, nature and landscape (both real and imagined) are frequent themes for Cahn.


Cahn’s works are included in museum collections worldwide. Significant exhibitions have been held at the Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt , Kunsthalle of Basel, Musée la Chaux-de-Fonds, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Haus am Waldsee in Berlin, Kunstverein of Hannover, Cornerhouse in Manchester, Kunsthaus Zürich, Fundaciún La Caixa Madrid, Kirchner Museum in Davos, David Roberts Art Foundation in London, and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in Los Angeles. 


Bad Girls 2021 - Featured Work

Miriam Cahn - Stilwechsel, 2000.jpg

Miriam CAHN

stilwechsel, 27.01.2000

oil on canvas

28 x 40 cm - 11 x 15.7 inches


Courtesy of the Artist and Meyer Riegger, Berlin/Karlsruhe.

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