Roni Horn is a contemporary artist based in New York and Iceland. Horn makes use of sculpture, photography, and drawing. Unconstrained by labels and an “artistic style”, Roni Horn commits to ambiguous and challenging projects.
Last spring, I visited at the Menil Drawing Institute for the first time and viewed “Roni Horn: When I Breathe, I Draw, Part I”. The exhibition featured cut assemblages on paper. The works were large and precise. They were also oddly intuitive, natural. I enjoyed how both the deconstruction and careful reconstruction were subtly apparent.
This past week, I visited The Menil again to view the second part of the exhibition. The works were smaller and more diverse. One room was filled with sliced up literary quotations. In another room, a wall featured Horn’s cut and assembled maps. One wall, clowns. The next, and the most interesting, wall showcased Roni Horn’s Remembered Words (2012-2013).
At first glance, I see colorful, playful dots. Then I notice the words beneath them. They are all over the place. As Horn explains, “The words have no context. They are some else’s recall, present as evidence or residue of something the viewer cannot know”. The words are unrelated and free flowing. Yet they are also organized in lines. Together, with the dots, the words reflect the spontaneity of the mind’s recollection and the fickle nature of memory. The mind is irrational, beautiful and dutiful.
I enjoy these works. They are faithful to the subject matter and exploratory nature of drawing. Inspired by these works, created my own.
I am interested in a lot of different subjects. Ideas percolate and recede. One of the toughest challenges is identifying a good idea and trusting it enough to pursue it loyally. I tend to cheat on my ideas… and jump from one to another. Never committing. I admire Roni Horn’s willingness to faithfully listen to those ideas despite their ambiguity.
“Roni Horn: When I Breathe, I Draw, Part II” is on view at The Menil Collection’s Drawing Institute through September 1, 2019.
Ninth Street Women, Mary Gabriel
“Roni Horn draws attention with first museum exhibition at Menil Drawing Institute”, Molly Glentzer, The Houston Chronicle
“Ana Mendieta, Emotional Artist”, Emily LaBarge, The Paris Review
“What It’s Really Like to be an Artist in Residence - a Tale of Two Worlds and One Working Artist”, Bradley Kerl, Paper City
“The Labor of Looking: from Intention to Interpretation”, Anoka Faruqee
“Stephen Clark - Austin History and the Photographic Gallery”, Austin Art Talk