Roni Horn - “London (((through))) Brussels, Hours of devotion

“ That was our work. Hours of devotion. In their curves, phrases, atonal landscapes, their breaths. The landscape of hours. The breath of hours. Inside of which our body took leave to become, to be intense attentiveness, to become, to be intense gift. As when our fleeting presence filled in the absence of the dead. The hours. Consecrated to the works. Dedicated to the works. Given to the works. To one work. What difference did it make—at that moment—the form, the forms. What difference did borrowed, recomposed or replenished time make, silent or stopped time. What difference did the figure, the idea or the concept or the protocol make. What difference did the figure or the line make, since, at the far end of the forms, they met again, wed, separated, flared into act, gesture. What difference did flexible, hard, solid, fluid, volatile matter make; worthy, left over, useful, recovered matter. What difference did immobility, fixedness, the repeated, the reactivated, the recopied, the replayed, the breaks, the obliterations, the recoveries, the epiphanies, the movements, the lights, the perspectives make. What difference made all these classifying, defining, designating, disquieting words. What difference did it make to know we were leaving the painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, object, museum space, white cube, wasteland; that ‘departure from’ who said what was at play there was the now of art, the random reducer of art; who said that we were participating in environments, that we were diving into immaterialities, and that were thus ‘pure perception’... We could certainly have with us, in our clever pockets, our chaotic, stammering, unfinished, contestable glossary of the history of art—always Western art—always presumptuous of its ideal past, its past of beauty, sublime perfection, always male, always hetero-normative. We knew we had to separate from it, and dismantle it in order to at last inside the hours ‘take care’ of the work, to appreciate it, listen to it with our hearing, our eyes, our hands, and then, finally, look into its face, and allow it to go off into reinvented landscape. That was our work. That was our time for work. In the present imperfect. Our enclosed present. Open to the egnima of the dead and the living. The work. In the devoted hours. We live it every day in the adverb of the long time that takes into account years to come, into account reached cities, into account sojourns of fortune. From London to Brussels. From Avignon to Zurich. From New York to Boston, and farther, to Amherst in Massachusetts, where the work encountered its double in reading Emily Dickinson. From Marfa, Texas, to Bregenz, Austria. From Munich to Hamburg. From Winterthur, in the Zurich district, to Stykkisholmur, on the west coast of Iceland. We lived it taking into account that land entirely, having become a library of forms. The land of the work, the landscape of the work. The poetic land of the artist, the poetic and of the double. Roni Horn’s, whom we are finally naming.
The devoted hours. The years, Virginia Woolf would have also said, although evoked so little in the inner, private index of poets and writers by this American artist (born in New York in 1955 and living and working between her studio in Brooklyn and the one in Reykjavik). So we've invented  a time with and for that work, with it and for it we we’re invented a sensual library of the doubles and the landscapes, a new index of words, verses, phrases, material, liquid material and sexual, androgynous water. That was our work. That is our work. All research invents a method of rebellion for itself, a storytelling form of writing. A common life. All research invents for itself a time, among the available times. A challenge to the immediate, a resistance to the ephemeral, a poetic flow. The silence of time would be in the word itself. The ambiguity of landscape would be in the word itself. We had learned it in the intermittency of the work.
And, between our hands, the work of Roni Horn is told, flows forth, speaks, tells graphic stories; solid cast blue, pink, red glass sculptures that set down the world. Text or verse sculptures that punctuate the world. Pigment drawings, immensities of a private narration, of a life. Between our hands, words, phrases, fragments of text that compose this long Hornian poem, flux, river mingling Dickinson, Flannery O’Connors, Wallace Stevens, Clarice Lispector, Kafka, Simone Weil, Emily Brontë, Anne Carson... The words, letter, verb, adverb... Pigment drawings in sets give their names: ‘Such’, ‘Else’, ‘Enough’, ‘Must', ‘Were’, ‘Too’, ‘So’, ‘Could’... and the carving ‘Through’... Through the whole and the element, through the island, through the river, through the glaciers, through the bestiary, through the anonymous waters, through the word.

Horn’s poetics is a gash and a fluidity, in the design of linking, crossing, scanned, free-flowing words, event words, words of the waves. The words that say I am here, and it’s enough. I am here in the world and in this world. The world lives in my presence and in my absence, and my body is filled with this geographic and plastic double.

Between our hands, the research goes on, crossing the poetic land of Roni Horn, in the room of forms and lines of verse that are encounters, contacts, in the devoted hours.”

In «Les Chroniques Purple», publishers: Elein Fleiss, Yusuke Nagai; editor-in-chief: Elein Fleiss; translator: Bruce Benderson. Les Editions Purple & VACANT. Japan, may 2014. 

Warm thanks to Mathieu Duplay.

Photo: Rony Horn, «When Dickinson Shut Her Eyes - n° 562», 1993-2004. One day in Paris, FIAC.

«Conjecturing a Climate
Of unsuspended Suns –
Adds poignancy to Winter –
The Shivering Fancy turns

To a fictitious Country
To palliate a Cold –
Not obviated of Degree –
Nor eased – of Latitude –»
Emily Dickinson, c. 1862.
in «The Complete poems of Emily Dickinson», edited by Thomas H. Johnson.

Roni Horn, «When Dickinson Shut Her Eyes, n° 1259» (1993-2004).

Roni Horn, «Library of Water », Stykkishólmur, Iceland.


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