Roni Horn Then 3 2006 two rounded shapes made up of short fractured lines

Roni Horn
Then 3 2006
Pigment and varnish on paper
Museum Folkwang, Essen
© The artist, courtesy Hauser & Wirth Zürich London

In the 1990s, Horn’s drawings grew in scale. Examples include Then 3 2006 (Room 1), the Were series (Room 6 and Room 9), and the drawings gathered in Room 9. These works start with Horn creating a group of drawings on sheets of paper called ‘plates’ featuring images made with charcoal and loose pigment fixed with varnish. Two or more plates are cut apart, and the pieces are pinned to the wall, arranged and reconfigured until a new composition emerges. This may or may not have a relationship to the drawings on the original plates. The process is lengthy and intuitive. As she works, Horn makes pencil annotations using pairs of numbers and words which can be discerned linking across sections of paper. Most drawings feature one coloured pigment but some have dots of another pigment dispersed over the surface.

Horn is interested in paradox, and these drawings give a paradoxical sense of simultaneous fragmentation and cohesion: though made of hundreds of pieces, each piece is in its place with no gaps or overlaps. They are the result of some relatively quick activities and other much more protracted processes, and consequently produce a complex, non-linear sense of time. The drawings change as one approaches, with their graphic identity becoming less apparent and their materiality and intensely worked surfaces more palpable. Covered with annotations and lines, the drawings relate to puzzles or diagrams. If they have a subject, it is the nature of thought itself: not linear, but shifting and indeterminate