Roni Horn "Everything was sleeping as if the universe were a mistake"

11 November 2013 – 11 January 2014, Hauser & Wirth New York, 18th Street

New York, NY… Hauser & Wirth is proud to present an exhibition comprising two new series of works by artist Roni Horn. Opening 11 November 2013, ‘Everything was sleeping as if the universe were a mistake’ will fill the gallery’s West Chelsea space in Manhattan with large format drawings and two multi-part sculptures that continue Horn’s exploration of the nature of perception, memory, and identity. The experiential quality of Horn’s glass installations link the relationship of time to space and light. Employing the formal devices of pairing, repetition, and doubling, Horn challenges the viewer to reconcile the eye and the mind. ‘Everything was sleeping as if the universe were a mistake’ will be on view through 11 January 2014.

Upon entering the gallery’s soaring sky lit, wood-ceilinged space, viewers will encounter ‘Untitled (“My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the deathcup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.”)’ (2013), a sculpture comprised of ten cylindrical cast glass elements rendered in subtly shifting shades of chamomile, chartreuse, and lime and bathed in the glow of natural light. At the opposite end of the gallery, visitors will find ‘Untitled (“A dream dreamt in a dreaming world is not really a dream … but a dream not dreamt is.”)’ (2013), a counterpart of the yellow and green glass sculpture but in hues of violet.

Separated but palpably connected, the two sculptures invite comparison and contemplation of accepted notions of ‘likeness’ and ‘difference’. Reflecting the changing natural light from apertures in the ceiling above, Horn’s sculptures partner with the weather and the constant cycles of time to manifest her binary experimentations with color, weight, and lightness, and solidity and fluidity.

Literary themes surge and resurface throughout much of Roni Horn’s oeuvre, and are present in both her
sculptures and her drawings on view at Hauser & Wirth. ‘Untitled (“My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood.
I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the deathcup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.”)’ references a passage from Shirley Jackson’s novel ‘We Have Always Lived in the Castle’; meanwhile ‘Untitled (“A dream dreamt in a dreaming world is not really a dream … but a dream not dreamt is.”)’ makes reference to prose in Canadian poet Anne Carson’s publication ‘Plainwater’. Incorporating lines from literature, Horn’s titles offer a narrative portal through which to enter her work, while still retaining an open and inexplicably ambiguous quality.

In the gallery’s central space, visitors will find a room containing Horn’s new series of large-scale drawings. This group of works exudes a powerful physical presence, abetted by its resolute color and handling of form. A meandering line roams freely across the surfaces of these drawings, suggesting an outline and relating this new work indirectly to Horn’s recurring theme of landscape. Here the artist manages to achieve both exquisite complexity and a masterful reduction of forms.

The element of drawing has been an integral part of Roni Horn’s artistic practice for thirty years. She has said, ‘If you were to ask me what I do, I would say I draw – this is the primary activity and that all my work has this in common regardless of idiom or material’. Presented in juxtaposition with Horn’s sculptures, these wall-mounted works traverse boundaries between two and three dimensions to challenge conventional definitions of ‘drawing’. Rendered as identifiable geometric forms and abstract volumes in both sculpture and drawing, Horn’s art engages new means to push forth investigations of multiplicity and perception.

About the Artist

Roni Horn was born in 1955 and lives and works in New York. Recent major solo exhibitions include ‘Selected Drawings 1984 – 2012’, Hauser & Wirth Zürich, Switzerland (2012); ‘Photographien / Photographic Works’, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany (2011); and ‘Well and Truly’, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2010). In November 2009, Horn’s comprehensive survey exhibition, ‘Roni Horn aka Roni Horn’ opened at Tate Modern and travelled to Collection Lambert in Avignon, France (2009); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York NY (2009); and The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston MA (2010). Horn’s works are featured in numerous major international institutions and collections including the Guggenheim Museum, New York NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York NY; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago IL; Tate Modern, London, England; Kunsthalle Hamburg, Germany; Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France. For Horn, 2013 has amounted to an important year. In January 2013, Horn was awarded the Joan Miró Prize and JRP Ringier also published the first major publication to focus solely on Horn’s extensive drawing practice. Running concurrently with her show at Hauser & Wirth, Horn will present a solo exhibition at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main, Germany on view from 12 December 2013 to 26 January 2014. Following in 2014, Horn will participate in the 19th edition of the Sydney Australia Biennale, ‘You Imagine What You Desire’.