Miriam Cahn is a Swiss artist.
Miriam Cahn is primarily a figurative painter, but her work also includes other forms of artistic expression such as charcoal and pencil drawings, pastel drawings, room installations and performances.
Miriam Cahn's work oscillates between extreme poles of human emotion. Her main themes in terms of content and style are "the vulnerability of the body and the attraction of lust and violence". According to Cahn, morality "has no place in art anyway.
She was influenced by the peace and women's movement, in which she was also actively involved. Her themes often revolve around the role of women or even war and its representation in our mass media. In the 1990s she dealt with the Gulf War and the war in the Balkans in two cycles.
Even though she tackles socio-political themes, she is not a striking political artist: "If I have the choice between L'art pour l'art and Betroffenheitskunst, I find L'art pour l'art better.
Her working method is mostly intuitive, she opens up to the artistic process to such an extent that she provides insights into early stages of her artistic production. Thus, her exhibited works are often sketchy, as she intends to withdraw the creative process from rational control. Her image production bears witness to "a profound search for justice". In her morality "justice is done to the subconscious, psychological contexts that influence life with great violence".
In early periods of her creative work, she preferred to carry out her large-format works on the floor, in order to abandon spatial distance and the mental distance associated with it, using her whole body. In this phase she created monumental chalk and charcoal drawings with symbolic depictions of people, animals and plants. In a further step she went on to execute series of drawings with closed eyes. In recent years she has made a name for herself especially with strong oil paintings. Photographs also belong to her work.
For the Sculpture at Schoenthal of Kloster Schönthal, Miriam Cahn created the Brutality Sculpture in 2007/2008, which goes back to an experience: The crowns of healthy trees along an avenue were brutally cut off. Some time later, the artist discovered new life in the trees: they did not give up. The sculpture bears witness to such aggression and receives from the surrounding trees the hope that the ash tree will begin to sprout again.