Miriam Cahn - raw reflections on being human


Left: zurückschauen, 21.2.2016  Right: MARE NOSTRUM, 2008 + 27.6.17

Miriam Cahn, born on July 21, 1949, in Basel, is a Swiss contemporary artist characterized by a strong feminist stance and an expressive, unconventional approach. Initially trained in graphic design, Cahn expanded her repertoire to include painting, drawing, photography, film, sculpture and performance. Her work delves into themes such as violence, love, gender conflict, and the human condition, often challenging societal norms.


Exhibition view DAS GENAUE HINSCHAUEN, 2019

Cahn’s early works involved large-scale chalk and charcoal drawings, often created on the floor, engaging her entire body in the process. Her series „L.I.S. [Lesen In Staub]“ and „M.G.A. [Mit Geschlossenen Augen]“ exemplify her unique method and thematic focus. One of her most notable acts was an illegal art intervention in 1979-1980, where she drew on the concrete pillars of the Basel Nordtangente, blending domestic and militaristic imagery to critique societal structures. This act led to a legal trial, highlighting her commitment to her artistic vision.


Left: schreck, 12.8.13,  Right: untitled, 15.12.2011

Using vibrant and sometimes blurry colors her art conveys deep emotions, transforming the canvas into a space where buried secrets and forbidden sensations come to light. Exploring themes like bodily desire and violence Cahn is not afraid to use graphic imagery, thus creating a powerful narrative that evokes a deep emotional response. Despite her profound engagement with political and social issues, Cahn resists labeling her art as political, instead viewing it as a reflection of her everyday observations and thoughts.


Left: vögelchen, 2005 + 05.06.2006,  Right: Titel und Datum unbekannt

Miriam Cahn‘s continued exploration of these themes and her unique approach to art-making have established her as a significant figure in contemporary art, with her work resonating on both personal and political levels. Thanks to her ability to capture the essence of the human experience through her evocative use of color and form, her oeuvre continues to provoke and inspire people around the world.