Rebecca Horn born 1944

Artist biography

German sculptor and film maker. She studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg (1964–70). After a period in London (1971–2), she lived for a long time in New York, with visits to Berlin. In 1968 she produced her first body sculptures, in which she attached objects and instruments to the human body, taking as her theme the contact between a person and his or her environment.

From 1970 Horn documented her work using video and film, establishing a connection between sculpture and action. She increasingly used feathers, for example in masks or constructions that enclose the entire body, closing off the wearer from the environment. The spectator's occasional glimpses through the constructions produce a high level of intimacy. In a completely darkened cabinet, which closes automatically, the spectator is exposed to the voices of two Chinese girls speaking continuously. Concentrating on these pleasant and incomprehensible sounds, the spectator is finally released into the wealth of sense impressions of the bright, lively gallery space.

In the films Der Eintänzer (1978) and La Ferdinanda – Sonate für eine Medici-Villa (1981) Horn placed her individual actions and objects within a narrative sequence. The intervals show two people or objects making contact with each other: in the tactile sense, having to cover a spatial distance or hindered by reduced mobility; verbally, through difficulties in comprehension; or, visually, through impaired vision. In the film Buster's Bedroom (1989–90), Horn's central themes are elaborated with an increasing narrative sense.

Rebecca Horn: Objekte, Video, Filme (exh. cat., Cologne, Kstver.; W. Berlin, Haus Waldsee; 1977)
Rebecca Horn (exh. cat., Zurich, Ksthaus; London, Serpentine Gal.; Chicago, IL, Mus. Contemp. A.; and elsewhere; 1983–4)
Nuit et jour sur le dos du serpent à deux têtes (exh. cat., Paris, Mus. A. Mod. Ville Paris, 1986)
Diving through Buster's Bedroom (exh. cat., Los Angeles, CA, Mus. Contemp. A., 1990)
Rebecca Horn (exh. cat. by J. Bruno and others, New York, Guggenheim; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.; London, Tate; and elsewhere; 1993–5)


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