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Rebecca Horn at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

Rebecca Horn at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

An exhibition of the work of the renowned German performance artist, sculptor and film maker Rebecca Horn opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Sunday 27 May. Rebecca Horn comprises 15 works, selected personally by the artist for the New Galleries at IMMA, and includes installations, mechanised sculptures and painting machines, as well as Horn’s entire film oeuvre being shown together for the first time. The show is Horn’s first substantial exhibition in Ireland and forms part of an exciting and varied programme being organised by the Museum to mark its tenth anniversary at the end of May. The exhibition is organised in cooperation with the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Stuttgart.

Rebecca Horn explores Horn’s most frequently recurring themes – sexuality, human vulnerability and emotional fragility – and illustrates the richness and complexity of her work. Her early works focus on her body and senses, frequently incorporating performances and elaborate costumes. ‘The Feathered Prison Fan’1978, featured in her film ‘Der Eintanzer’,dates from this period. Made up of an exotic circle of ostrich feathers, it creates a warm, seductive environment in which to nestle only to snatch away these reassuring sensations as the fan snaps shut.

In the late 1970s and early ‘80s Horn began to move away from body-centred art into more narrative work including a greater use of film. She used film initially to document her performances but since then has developed it into a new sphere of work, producing several feature films. The exhibition includes documentation of some 30 well-known performances, among them ‘Unicorn’, 1970; ‘White Body Fan’, 1972, ‘Cockatoo Mask’, 1973, and ‘Berlin Exercises’, 1974/5. Feature films such as ‘La Ferdinanda: Sonata for a Medici Villa’, 1981, and ‘Buster’s Bedroom’, 1990, are also being shown.

The association between sculpture and film, which continues to be a key element of her work, is fully explored in the exhibition in works such as ‘Time Goes By’, 1990, in which 40,000 metres of developed Hollywood film, thermometers, binoculars and copper snakes are presented in a mechanised installation in homage to tragic-comic actor Buster Keaton, whose shoes form the central focus of the installation. ‘Painting Machine’, 1988, represents another aspect of Horn’s work in which ink and champagne are pumped out of two funnels into a spraying device which wildly flings random splashes of the liquid against the wall.

In the past decade Horn’s work has expanded to include installations at various, often historically significant, sites around the world. One of her most celebrated works, ‘Concert for Buchenwald’, 1999, an installation in two parts, was originally located in a castle and old tram depot near the site of the concentration camp in Weimar. In a room lined with compressed ash, symbolising the dead, a small carriage repeatedly crashed into a pile of musical instruments, representing human bodies, while elsewhere a concerto made up of the buzzing of bees and the smashing of a mirror is heard – both elements a response to the horrific events associated with that place. A work from this installation comprising a motorised cello and conductor’s baton, positioned at a window as if conducting the landscape, is included in the exhibition at IMMA.

Born in 1944, Rebecca Horn has had her work exhibited in many leading museums and galleries in Europe and America. The winner of a US Carnegie Prize in 1988, she has two rooms dedicated to her work at Tate Modern. In 1994 a major survey exhibition was shown at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York; Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands; Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; and the Tate Gallery and Serpentine Gallery, London. Horn has been included in many major international group exhibitions, such as Sculptur Project, Munster, 1997 and 1999, and Documenta, Kassel, 1986 and ROSC ’88, Dublin. She lives and in Paris and Berlin and travels extensively.

Variations of this exhibition have toured to Santiago de Compostella, Spain, and Nimes, France, before being shown at IMMA, and will travel to Budapest, South America and Japan afterwards. The artist has made new selections of works for each venue in response to their spaces and architecture.

A substantial fully-illustrated catalogue published by Institut für Auslands- beziehungen e.V (IFA) with texts by Carl Haenlein, Sergio Edelsztein, Martin Mosebach, Doris von Drathen and Rebecca Horn is available (price £19.95).

The exhibition is supported by the Goethe Institut, Dublin, Guinness Ireland Group and the Morrison Hotel.

Rebecca Horn continues in the New Galleries and Lecture Room until 19 August.

Admission is free.

Opening hours: Tue – Sat 10.00am – 5.30pm

Sun, Bank Holidays 12 noon – 5.30pm

Closed: Mondays

For further information and colour and black and white images please contact
Philomena Byrne or Monica Cullinane at Tel : +353 1 612 9900,
Fax : +353 1 612 9999

4 May 2001