A Memory... After Bach's Cello Suites

Khan, Idris
Concerned with repetition and memory, A Memory … after Bach's Cello Suites is a layered film, in which the cellist, Gabriella Swallow, plays excerpts from Johann Sebastian Bach's Six Suites for the Cello Solo. Superimposed together, the work creates a ghost-like multiple image of the soloist playing all six pieces at the same time. Khan's fascination with the cello suites is rooted in the fact that a number of different versions have been published and no one knows precisely how they were intended to be played. He comments: "When we look at images or listen to a piece of music it can trigger memories, which often become blurred in our minds and mixed with all sorts of emotions. When I first began to listen to Bach's cello suites, I would play it so often that my experience of the music would become hazy and indistinct. A Memory After Bach's Cello Suites is a film installation that evokes the effect of memory where one can't quite 'see' but the experience is still vivid and intense." Bach's music emphasises the links between memory, ritual and repetition. The suites were devised by Bach between 1717 and 1723 as private finger exercises to be executed daily and the music dwells on the relationship between form, spiritual worship and discipline. Kahn underlines the intimacy of these issues by adding or deleting in the film according to his own record of the rhythm of his father's movements while he prayed.
  • Artwork Details: running time: 6 minutes 40seconds
  • Edition: 1 of 6
  • Material description: 16mm film [transferred to DVD]
  • Credit line: © the artist. Commissioned by Victoria Miro Gallery and Iniva.
  • Theme:
  • Medium: Film and Audio Visual
  • Accession number: ACC15/2006



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