Portraits will encounter us silently and without context at various locations; the question as to whether we find ourselves in them or are unsettled by the subjects' gazes will remain unresolved.
However varied the media in which the American artist Roni Horn expresses herself, it is a single theme that preoccupies her in her photos, sculptures, installations, drawings and texts: the changeable, inconsistent nature of identity. By mirroring pairs of images or objects, for example, the artist -- who was honored in 2009 with a major retrospective at the Tate Modern, London and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York -- creates an interplay between similarity and difference that has a disconcerting effect on the viewer. The latter can enter into the framework of an alleged me-and-you relationship, or seek himself in the gaze of a photographed face directed towards or away from him. Particularly Roni Horn's photographic portraits, which are arranged in sequences, invite participation in such dialogue. In 2013, in an exhibition project designed especially for the SCHIRN, the artist will present one of these series in the exhibition hall's rotunda as well as -- in the form of an intervention -- in the urban space of Frankfurt. Portraits will encounter us silently and without context at various locations; the question as to whether we find ourselves in them or are unsettled by the subjects' gazes will remain unresolved.
Curator: Kristin Schrader (SCHIRN)
Roni Horn. Portrait of an Image
The photographic series "Portrait of an Image (with Isabelle Huppert)" is based on a collaboration between Horn and the French film and stage actress Isabelle Huppert. Together they selected earlier roles Huppert had played that the actress then performed again for the camera. For these photographs, Huppert visualized her repertoire solely on the basis of her memory, without the aid of the scripts or the films themselves.
Setting out from the Schirn, Horn places a selection of these motifs in public space in a way that does not reveal that they are part of her work or an artistic project: no mention is made either of the artist or the exhibiting institution, and there is no title that would indicate that it is a work of art. Sixteen motifs appear in places in Frankfurt's urban space in which advertising is usually displayed--advertising that in our society for the most part relies on the impact of faces. However, in Horn's work the portraits are not furnished with commentary and therefore raise questions, for example how and whether we can read the face we are looking at even without a prescribed context.
Postcard page designed by Roni Horn consisting of the sixteen motifs
distributed throughout Frankfurt, signed and limited edition.