chronological | Artists |

Rebecca Horn

Mirror of the Night

24.5. 2.8.1998
Horn herself openly endorses the metaphoric discourse by surrounding the trough, to which she ascribes the ambiguity of “the black bath, the open book” in a prose poem, with a laurel wreath of sorts. The ritual character of her work corresponds with the ritual context of the prayer room. At the same time, the installation evokes connotations of the mikvah, the Jewish ritual bath. That said, it should be added that the motif of the black bath represents a recurrent part of the artist’s repertoire of forms, simply inviting thoughts of grief and death.

Through the positively enchanting beauty of her installation, Horn creates an atmosphere of almost solemn sentiment. The highlights reflected in the beaten gold coating the rod lend to it the immaterial nature of a light ray. The characters emerging and vanishing in the water, accompanied by the violin’s lament, illustrate a dialectic of memory and oblivion, of the visible and the invisible, of the conscious and the unconscious, of eternity and transience in a deeply moving way. Rebecca Horn is known for playing on deep emotions, but she always does so by applying a sometimes melancholic and sometimes devious sense of irony that can border on cruelty. The Stommeln installation is suffused with the same absurd sense of humour that runs like a theme through her other artwork. Indeed, Horn qualifies the pathos inherent in her symbolism by pairing it with the stark aesthetic of the tell-tale mechanism and through constant reiteration. There is no way to escape hearing the machine’s running gear; whereas the violin comes to a creaking stop in mid-movement like a half-wound musical toy. It all calls to mind a character who quips in a tongue-in-cheek poem by Heinrich Heine about a girl watching the sun set over the ocean: “Dear maiden, look more gaily, this trick is old, thou’lt find…” […]

Christel Wester


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Diashow (3 Pictures)

Synagogue Stommeln, Rebecca Horn, Installation View

Installation View

Synagogue Stommeln, Rebecca Horn, Installation View

Installation View