Monday, October 1, 2007

Rebecca Horn

Rebecca Horn, born 1944 in Michelstadt, Germany, as daughter of a business man and textile designer, begins her studies at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste (University of Fine Arts) in Hamburg in 1964. The scholarship of DAAD makes a stay in London (1971/72) possible. At this time Rebecca Horn starts creating performances with body related sculptures. All activities have the same subject in common: to extend, to enlarge or to narrow the body by applying masks, attachments and textile applications to the body of the actor. In the same way as in her first body sculpture "Arm-Extension" (1968), she researches in her performances the new experience of space, the poetical relaying of psychological states and physical limitation. Rebecca Horn's main focus is the interaction of object (or actor), viewer and environment. "There are only participants." (quoted from: Carl Haenlein; "Rebecca Horn. The Glance of Infinity", Zurich 1997, p. 49). The viewer in his external passiveness takes part in the same degree as the actor or the object (and engine) of the installation.

Ideas of touch and sensory awareness are explored in this work. Horn has described how wearing these gloves altered her relationship with her surroundings, so that distant objects came within her reach: ‘the finger gloves are light. I can move them without any effort. Feel, touch, grasp anything, but keeping a certain distance from the objects. The lever-action of the lengthened fingers intensifies the various sense-data of the hand; ...I feel me touching, I see me grasping, I control the distance between me and the objects.’ Implicit in the work is the idea that touching makes possible an intimacy between our own body and those of others.

Finger Gloves 1972
Wood, fabric and metal sculpture
Relic Purchased with assistance from Tate Members 2002

A still from an early film made in 1970 about the 'Einhorn' ('Unicorn') performance, in which a woman walks through the countryside for 12 hours with the 'Unicorn’ object on her head. It demonstrates Rebecca Horn's interest in the poetical/mythological figures thematized in her performances, and also points to the sculptural aspect of the body extensions collectively presented in the films 'Performances I’, 1972, and ‘Performances II’, 1973.

Unicorn 1970-2
Fabric, wood and metal sculpture
Relic Purchased with assistance from Tate Members 2002

1 comment:

williammatthewharvey said...

dont know where to leave these things.