An Opera for Animals was first staged at Para Site in Hong Kong between 23 March and 2 June 2019, with works by over 48 artists and collectives that use opera as a metaphor for modes of contemporary, cross-disciplinary art-making. The exhibition's second iteration takes up a large portion of the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai (22 June–25...
Moving across installation, painting, drawing, and writing, Malaysia-born and London-based artist Mandy El-Sayegh explores the political, social, and economic complexities of humanity, using a mosaic of information—from advertising slogans and pornographic imagery to newspaper articles—that she subjects to processes of layering,...
Get Up Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House in London (12 June–15 September 2019) surveys more than half a century of black creativity in Britain and beyond across the fields of art, film, photography, music, design, fashion, and literature.Curated by Zak Ové, works by approximately 100 intergenerational black...
Roni Horn's studio. Photo: Geordie Wood.
To get to Roni Horn's home and studio in upstate New York, you drive through farm villages, past horses grazing on meadows, and after a few turns, reach a gate leading to a rugged dirt road. Even on a balmy spring day, the road is covered in a layer of ice. It's a long, winding ascent until you reach another turn, passing by two seal-brown buildings, before finally reaching a house overlooking a small lake, with floor-to-ceiling windows and deeply set eaves on each end. The sun pours through the building, bathing the space in a cool light on this slightly overcast day.
From glass sculptures to photographic installations to works on paper and books, Roni Horn's practice has long explored a plethora of concerns, from the shifting nature of identity and its meaning, to the concept of doubling and the changeability of the weather.
A native of New York, Horn graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1975 and travelled to Iceland. There, she was struck by the country's unpredictable weather and began photographing the landscapes. She returned to the United States and earned her MFA in sculpture from Yale University in 1978, but has been inspired by Iceland ever since. 'To Place', an ongoing book series that begun in the 1990s, thus far consists of ten volumes that examine Iceland's geography, geology and culture. Folds (1991), for example, focuses on the sheepfolds scattered throughout Iceland. Haraldsdóttir contains images lifted from Horn's photographic series 'You are the Weather' (1994—5), which is comprised of 100 close-ups of a model's face as she stands in water. Her facial expression is slightly different in each picture—a metaphor for Iceland's varieties of weather, light and water.
Similarly based on Iceland is Vatnasafn/Library of Water (2007), an installation of 24 glass columns inside a former library in Stykkishólmur. Horn started casting glass sculptures in the mid-1990s, creating often large and coloured cylinders; for Library of Water, she filled the pillars with melted ice gathered from 24 glaciers as a reminder of the human impact on the environment. The clear glass columns distort the view of the seascape outside while shedding light on the rubber floor, which is incised with words—in both Icelandic and English—related to the weather such as 'foul' and 'moist'. Intended as a site of private meditation as well as community gatherings, the building also holds collections revolving around language, water and weather reports, including recordings of Stykkishólmur and nearby residents discussing the weather.
Horn's fascination with the dynamic nature of weather is parallel to her interest in the multiplicity and mutability of identity, explored through her self-portraits in various media. In a 2009 article in W Magazine, for example, she described the stainless steel and copper balls in her 'Asphere' (1988) series as a form of self-portrait. Despite their initially spherical appearances, the balls have inexact dimensions that compel the viewer to look at them twice; Horn's representation of herself similarly attempts to resist straightforward identification. This was directly addressed in the photographic series 'aka' (2008—9), for which Horn arranged pictures of herself to convey her ever-changing identities, from a frizzy-haired youth to an androgynous and middle-aged individual. The transformations in some images were extreme to the point that it becomes difficult to recognise the subject as Horn. Inanimate objects stood in for the artist in the 'self-portraits' that comprised 'The Selected Gifts, 1974—2015' (2015—16)—a photographic series that portrayed Horn through the gifts that she had received over the course of four decades, from letters and books to a stuffed swan and Flintstone figurines.
Drawing is also an indispensable aspect of Horn's practice. Her drawings often resemble elements of nature, such as clouds dropping rain in Yet 3 (2013—17), or organs, such as the kidney-like form in Or 1 (2014), or the brain in Such 6 (2014). In addition to graphite, Horn employs materials as diverse as powdered pigment, ink, charcoal and watercolour. Her 'Hack Wit' (2013—15) series works began as watercolour drawings of idiomatic expressions that she cut apart—paper included—and reassembled to create one nonsensical sentence. In Hack Wit—rainbow oblivion (2014), for example, the phrases 'consign to oblivion' and 'chasing rainbows' become 'consign the rainbow to chasing oblivion' while Hack Wit—aching cheap (2014) reads, 'A cheap suit all over me like an aching void'.
Selected solo exhibitions include Roni Horn. PI, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2018); Remembered Words, Kukje Gallery, Seoul (2018); The Selected Gifts, (1974—2015), Rat Hole Gallery, Tokyo (2017); Roni Horn, Hauser & Wirth, New York (2017); and Roni Horn, Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2016). In 2009, the Whitney Museum of American Art and Tate Modern organised a retrospective of her work titled Roni Horn aka Roni Horn that travelled to Collection Lambert, Avignon, and The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.
Horn lives and works in New York and Reykjavik.
After decades of being overlooked, it's fair to say that 73-year-old American artist McArthur Binion is having a moment. With a spate of recent exhibitions, notably his inclusion in the 2017 Venice Biennale Viva Arte Viva and a 2018 solo exhibition at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Detroit, this past month the artist has also celebrated the opening of...
Who is Slim Stealingworth? He wrote an 80-page essay for a Tom Wesselmann monograph in 1980. He also penned various catalogue essays for Wesselmann until 2002, two years before the American pop artist's death. 'Many of these earliest works began with finding a piece of wood that seemed special,' Stealingworth notes about Wesselmann's process.
LONDON — Following Baghdad's fall to US troops in 2003, more than 15,000 artifacts were looted from the National Museum of Iraq by thieves. The presence of ISIS went on to facilitate further destruction of ancient culture in the country, yet looting and pillaging in Iraq is nothing new. Western archaeologists have been laying their claim over...
Monster Chetwynd’s imagination takes over Villa Arson in an outpouring of creativity on the walls, ceilings or floor. A sound atmosphere and colourful lighting support this punk and humorous production. The artist adds an ecological claim through a strong relationship with poor, light, easily transportable materials.
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