Roni Horn As IX 1987-1988

Roni Horn
As IX 1987–8
Pigment and varnish on paper
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection Gift, 2005
© The artist, courtesy Hauser & Wirth Zürich London

Horn’s Distant Doubles (Room 3 and Room 4) are conceptually related to her paired sculptural and photographic work: two similar drawings are installed some distance apart. The viewer is unable to see them both at once and recognises the second while recalling the first.

Other drawings are single works which, like the Distant Doubles, are made with loose pigment fixed to paper with layers of varnish. Horn often slices drawings and reconfigures them. Must 7 1985 (Room 4) is a spiral with two centres and is made from two different drawings. As IX 1987/88 (Room 3) features three shapes against a white surface, the central one cut out and overlaying different sheets of paper. Though modest in scale the drawings produce unexpected effects: in Must 7 the jolt to a familiar form estranges it; in As IX the ovals evoke disembodied heads.

Two series of Horn’s earliest drawings appear in Room 5, Bluff Life 1982 and Untitled (Dyrhólaey) 1982. These were made during a stay in a lighthouse in Iceland, and use watercolour and graphite. The intense forms do not really represent the look of the Icelandic landscape so much as its effect on Horn over time. ‘The drawings are a matter of the myriad and unaccountable influences of just being in a place. Perhaps it’s a form of memory’, she has said.