Londonist visited the Hayward Gallery this weekend to see their newest exhibition, Rebecca Horn "Bodylandscapes."
Londonist has never been a huge fan of Rebecca Horn, we could just not wrap our head around why an artist would strap a series of pencils to her face and proceed to draw by sweeping them back and forth across a canvas, but this exhibition was a Sunday afternoon well-spent. Horn's exhibition (although still not a favourite) is an intriguing exploration into the themes of isolation, displacement, and in completely non-artistic terms - just fun to look at for a few hours.
The programmme informs us that, “Horn is widely known for the evocative kinetic sculptures and installations she has made since the late 1970s, but equally important are her drawings, poems, and films.” Throughout the 5 galleries you are able to see a big portion of the body of work she has produced since the 60s. Much of her work in the first gallery is from the period after a period of convalescence at a sanatorium due to a lung condition she contracted in 1968. It was this which, according to the Guggenheim Collection biography, resulted in “a series of sculptures concerned with the body, isolation, and vulnerability. Horn turned to soft materials, reminiscent of bandages and prostheses, and began making her body-extension sculptures.”
The Gallery is broken up into 6 different spaces, 5 gallery spaces and one projection room (located on the roof and we think built specifically to show Horn’s films.) The spaces are used beautifully – each allows the viewer ample room to really see how the mechanisms in Horn’s sculptures work, to get some distance between your eyes and the work in order to attempt to see what it is Horn did.
The most incredible space is the last space which houses - Light imprisoned in the belly of the whale (2002). The gallery guide describes it as, “a powerful choreography of sound, light and the artist’s own poetry; a dreamscape of words written into fathomless black water, emerging from the darkness and escaping our reach as they travel round the room, both projected and reflected, as elusive as our dreams. At the same time Hayden Chisholm’s ethereal music fills the gallery – a combination of voices and instruments layered with the primeval sound of a whale, resounding across the ocean.” Layman’s terms: It is a dark room with words being projected onto the wall and into a shallow pool of water as well as a soundtrack of voices, airy sounds, and whales.
There are so many interesting pieces which are on view; The Raven's Twin (a pair of mechanised wings which open and close, and fan out), Book of Ashes (a full room installation in which a massive gilt rod traces lines in sand on top of a mirror while a mechanised cello occasionally plays), and Kafka Cycle (which used Kafka's novel America as inspiration).
Rebecca Horn “Bodylandscapes” is on at the Hayward Gallery from 26 May – 29 August 2005. Open daily from 10 – 6, Tuesdays and Wednesdays until 8, and Fridays until 9. In addition, your ticket to “Bodyscapes” will give you access to a special installation of Horn’s Moon Mirror at St. Paul’s Cathedral from 27 June – 13 July as part of the City of London Festival.