Roni Horn presents the culmination of the artist’s long-running photographic series of taxidermied Icelandic wildfowl. Photographed at close range against white backgrounds (as though obeying the conventional format of studio portraiture) the birds are viewed from behind, their unique physiognomies and markings resulting in inscrutable shapes and patterns on the photographs’ surfaces. Horn’s photographs, like the stuffed birds represented, are quizzical. These are terse, slippery images in which clear-sighted, accurate detail only serves to underline the limited knowledge offered up by appearances.
Despite the singular form of the title the birds in this series are all presented in pairs, images that are hung side by side one another highlighting the differences and similarities between the two. The gesture of doubling – as an aesthetic and conceptual strategy – has been a recurrent motif for Horn since 1980, a tool that invites careful scrutiny from the viewer, altering the dynamic of the work. She has noted that ‘with two objects that are one object you have an integral use of the world. You have the necessary inclusion of circumstance.’
Alongside the bird photographs Horn is showing a new sculptural work entitled ‘Blue by Blue’, which consists of two almost identical objects made of solid cast blue glass. Horn has elucidated: ‘The experience of blue unlike most colours is always half you. So this is a pair that is both mirror and window. The window contains the view of blue. The mirror reflects the blue in you.’
Born in New York in 1955, Horn achieved international recognition in the 1980s and her works have been the subject of numerous major exhibitions. In 2007 she undertook Artangel’s first international commission, creating Vatnasafn / Library of Water a long-term installation in the town of Stykkisholmur, Iceland. She has had solo exhibitions at numerous leading art institutions including Inverleith House, Edinburgh (2006), Fotomuseum Winterthur (2003), Art Institute of Chicago (2004), Folkwang Museum Essen (2004), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2003), Dia Center for the Arts New York (2001-02) and Museo Serralves, Porto (2001).
The exhibition will be accompanied by Roni Horn. Bird, a catalogue published by STEIDL Hauser & Wirth, featuring an essay by the writer and curator Philip Larratt-Smith. From 18 January until 30 March, A KIND OF YOU is on show at CAC Malaga, and a major touring exhibition of Horn’s works will take place in 2009 – 2010, organized by Tate Modern and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
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About the artist
Using drawing, photography, installation, sculpture and literature, Roni Horn’s work consistently questions and generates uncertainty to thwart closure in her work, engaging with many different concerns and materials. Important across her oeuvre is her longstanding interest to the protean nature of identity,…Learn more