Roni Horn: Saying Water
Have you ever stood by a river and stared into the black water? In this video acclaimed artist Roni Horn takes us down by the riverside, performing a powerful 40 minute monologue based on her associations with water, including tales of sex and murder.
‘Watching the water, I am stricken with the vertigo of meaning.’ One of many vivid lines by American artist Roni Horn quotable from this video, where she examines water as an unknown.
In this video Roni Horn explains how water shows us who we are. How it is ambiguous. And makes us extended. How it can be a dark fluid making us disappear. How it is a soft entrance to not being. ‘When you talk of the water, are you talking of yourself, or the weather?’ Horn asks. The river surrounds you, and takes you away, she explains. Dark water makes you invisible, while also relieving you from the demands of sight. ‘Thinking about water, is thinking about the future.’ And importantly, water is sexy. Because it is powerful, vulnerable, energetic, fragile, she says: ‘Near it. Immersed in it. Deeper into it. Washing all over me.’
Roni Horn (b.1955) wrote Saying Water during her stay at the one-bedroom installation ‘A Room for London’, October 2012; a riverboat resting on top of the roof of Queen Elizabeth Hall by the river Thames. ‘The Thames has the highest level of suicides of any urban river. Or at least, it looks like it does.’ Horn tells us of suicides and murders, real and fictitious, taking place by the river, and she wonders what it is about the Thames that makes people travel from far away to commit suicide in it. Black water is always violent, she says, because it’s alluring. ‘Between grief and nothing, I will take grief.’
Roni Horn is an American visual artist and writer from New York. Her work encompasses sculpture, drawing, photography, language, and site-specific installations. An underlying theme running through Horn’s work is her relationship and associations with water.
Recorded at the Two days art-festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, in May 2012