Roni Horn
Rings of Lispector (Agua Viva)

Past Exhibition 17 Nov – 23 Dec 2004 London, Piccadilly


Hauser & Wirth London are delighted to present Roni Horn’s first major solo exhibition in the UK. Horn’s remarkable body of work continues to communicate how she imaginatively inhabits the world and combines a careful study of the role of language in perception. Horn’s unique ability to engage the viewer with a vivid sense of time and place in her range of sculptures, books, drawings and photographic installations, provide an active pursuit of self-revelation and the transience of form.

For this exhibition, the entire floorplan of the main gallery is given over to a single work Agua Viva (2004). Consisting of interconnecting rubber tiles, the work is inlaid with select passages from Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector’s book “Agua Viva” (Stream of Life). Translated by Hélène Cixous, phrases appear on the floor in circular arrangements, echoing the movement of raindrops on the surface of water. The work embodies a sense of the dialectic between architectural space and poetic force, encouraging one to experience the rubber physically underfoot and to view the words from above. This act of location addresses inner emotions with the idea of landscape.

Upstairs, Rings of Lispector (Agua Viva) (2004) comprises individual silkscreen prints that complement the installation Agua Viva. In the basement Vault Room, Cabinet of (2001) features 36 portraits of a clown; an ephemeral and shifting personality whose facial expressions appear blurred and multiple, causing the viewer to question motifs of identity and replication. Positioned throughout the exhibition space, Doubt By Water (2004) is a series of double-sided photographs on aluminium stands. First exhibited at the 2004 Whitney Biennial, each stand operates like signage requiring the viewer to move from one element to the next, creating a dialogue between one’s surroundings and identity.

Over the years, Horn has repeatedly visited Iceland, producing several works that apply her vocabulary to its elemental vastness. In her encyclopaedic venture To Place (1990-), an ongoing series of self-published books, Horn traces a personal journey immersed in the Icelandic landscape. You Are The Weather (1994-1995), a photographic cycle featuring 100 shots of the same woman, deals with the enigma of identity captured through a series of facial expressions dictated by imperceptible weather changes.

An important factor in Horn’s conceptual and aesthetic sensibility is her exploration of the possibilities of language as a sculptural form. Inspired by literary sources, she combines linguistic construction with the dimensions of physical experience. Works such as How Dickinson Stayed Home (1992-93), Kafka’s Palindrome (1991-94) and Key and Cues (1994) use fragments of text transformed through Horn’s sculptural practice. In doing so, she plays with our ability to discern and register difference. Photographic works address notions of duality and ambiguity; the work charged with an almost subliminal reading of the difference between object, image and identity. This is evidenced in works such as Dead Owl (1997), where her ‘pairing’ of images expresses Horn’s desire to emphasise the space ‘in-between’: a recognition of uniqueness through an understanding of similarity.

Roni Horn has had major international solo and group exhibitions. Solo exhibitions include the Art Institute of Chicago (2004), Folkwang Museum, Essen (2004), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2003), Fotomuseum Winterthur (2003), the Dia Center for the Arts, New York (2001-02), Museo Serralves (2001), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2000-01), Castello di Rivoli, Torino (2000), Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1999), De Pont Foundation for Contemporary Art, Tilburg (1998), the Wexner Center for the Arts (1996), Ohio and Kunsthalle Basel (1995). Group shows include the 2004 Whitney Biennial, New York, the XLVII Venice Biennale (1997) and Documenta IX, Kassel (1992), . Born in 1955, the artist lives and works in New York and Rejkyavik.

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,…

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