Everything was sleeping as if the universe were a mistake. The discomfort of being in the world and the intelligence that drives the artist to question things, identity and our relationship with our environment are essential features in her work.
CaixaForum hosts Roni Horn. Everything was sleeping as if the universe were a mistake, the first retrospective devoted to this American artist to be seen in Madrid, after its recent showings at the Whitney Museum in New York and the Tate Modern in London.
The title that Roni Horn (B.1955, New York) chose for the show in Madrid and Barcelona is a phrase from The Book of Disquiet, a work that the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa began in 1913 and left unfinished on his death in 1935. The book, which is clearly influenced by the German Romantic tradition, is fragmentary, born from a state of prostration, and deeply imbued with the secret and the ineffable. Revived in Spanish in 1984 and in English in 1991, The Book of Disquiet is now considered one of the great literary masterpieces of our time.
The discomfort of being in the world and the intelligence that drives the artist to question things, identity and our relationship with our environment are essential features in the work of Roni Horn. Born in New York in 1955, Horn uses drawing, sculpture, photography and installation in her art. An avid reader and a prolific writer, she has made language an important part of her work. Her subtle creations invite spectators to sharpen their senses, to become immersed in silence, and to begin to grasp the tiny differences that lead us to question preconceived ideas. For example, when Horn uses a material such as cast glass, she is playing with the ambiguity of its state: it is a solid, but at the same time it is also a liquid. The image of water is associated with life, but water can also be a place of danger and death. Transformation and mutation, the dual nature of things, are key concepts for understanding Horn's art.
Strongly influenced by both conceptualism and minimalism, Roni Horn has nonetheless followed a highly personal path. In recent years, she has frequently visited Iceland, where she finds an ideal space in which to develop her work: an essential, well-conserved landscape that allows her to explore the relations between identity and place. In this conceptual quest, two ideas come to the fore in the work of Roni Horn: the work ethic and critique. Besides its artistic value, Horn's work also challenges the conscience, both that of the viewer and her own.
For its presentation in Madrid, the exhibition – which opened to the public at Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona from June to September – features twenty-five works produced between 1996 and 2011. Two of these pieces are presented exclusively at CaixaForum Madrid: You are The Weather (1996) and Pi (1998).
Paseo del Prado, 36. 28014 Madrid
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Admission: 4 €