Saturday, April 04, 2009

Roni Horn

IMG_1679, originally uploaded by Caraes.

Following: a post I made to metafilter, just because.

In the early 1980s, Roni Horn travelled to Iceland and lived alone for a few months in the (supposedly haunted) lighthouse at Dyrhólaey. While there, she made rocky, earthy drawings. They formed the first volume of a currently incomplete, abstract encyclopedia of the country which has now progressed to include beautiful photographs of hot pools, glaciers, lava and rivers. A river's surface has appeared in different guises within a university. She has even made a library of water in a little Icelandic town. However, those currently in or near London can visit an exhibition in Tate Modern.

The stars of Horn's work are water and its surfaces, time, memory - and all the echoes thereof. The overall flavour is of purity and simplicity of form. There are deeply fascinating studies of the surface of the river Thames in London, and fascinatingly deep pieces of cast, annealed optical glass.

As we cannot step into the same river twice, so it is obvious that one beautiful face may not look the same if photographed a few seconds or days later. And just as we are usually very good at recognising anything familiar, time can blur our perception, and there is a chance that it may not be the same thing at all. Pairs of photos and objects explore this strange relationship between surface and substance, whether the photos are of a hot spring or a bird's head.

Horn also achieves beautiful effects by cutting together similar drawings onto a single large surface, further blurring the boundaries between one thing and another. And she is very good at causing you to doubt your perception of single objects. This, for example.

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