The Centre Pompidou-Metz and the Museum Tinguely of Basel are joining together to organise from June 2019 two exhibitions devoted to Rebecca Horn (born in 1944 in Michelstadt, in Germany): Theatre of Metamorphoses in Metz and Body Fantasies in Basel. Presented simultaneously, the exhibitions explore the process of metamorphoses, in turns animal, mannerist and cinematic in Metz and machine like or kinetic in Basel. They offer complementary major perspectives on the work of one of the most singular artists of her generation, of which certain parts of her work are still unsung.
The exhibition Rebecca Horn. Theatre of Metamorphoses at Centre Pompidou-Metz highlights the extraordinary range of forms of expression which the artist employs. It will also underline the role of creative influence that her cinematic work has had, a true theatralisation of her works supported by a liberating and anarchic energy where poetry and humour are at the heart of the subject.
The project goes back over the subtle dialogue linking the works of five decades of creation. “Everything overlaps. I always start with an idea, a story, which changes into a text, then from the text come the sketches, then a film, and from all that come the creation of the sculptures and the installations”. The exhibition thus highlights the types of materials, fetish objects, such as the fan or the stilettos, that the artist submits to constant changes. The presentation of the exhibition is conceived as a voyage through a composition, with the resurgence of themes, image reverberations, and significant feelings. The visitor is taken into the flow of the creative cycle of the artist, in the dance of thoughts and of moving images.
Through her pronounced taste for paradoxical associations, Rebecca Horn tirelessly theatricalises the antagonisms which underlie our lives: subject and object, body and machine, human and animal, desire and violence, strength and disability. The living and the inert appear transfigured, in roles which we do not usually bestow upon them; the object is endowed with a soul, the individual is characterised by his physical deficiency. From this comes the “the frightening strangeness” of her work. Rebecca Horn perpetuates in a unique manner the themes handed down to us from mythology and fairy tales: the metamorphosis as a mythical or hybrid creature, the secret life of the world of objects, the alchemy or the fantasies of robots. These founding themes, which have been part of numerous currents in the history of art such as Mannerism and Surrealism are at the heart of the exhibition. It also brings to light the artist’s spiritual “peers” which have fed her imagination: Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim, Marcel Duchamp, Jean Cocteau or Luis Buñuel and which throw light on the work of the work of Rebecca Horn.
Rebecca Horn lives and works in Bad König, in Germany. As early as 1972, she took part as the youngest artist in the documenta 5, organised by Harald Szeemann in Cassel. Three further participations in the prestigious manifestation were to follow. She was also present at the Skulptur Projekte in Münster in 1987 and 1997. Her work is exposed in institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, la Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the Tate Gallery et the Serpentine Gallery in London, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Her work has earned her numerous distinctions of which The Carnegie Prize (1988), the Goslarer Kaiserring (1992), The Alexej-von-Jawlensky prize of the city of Wiesbaden (2007), the Praemium Imperiale (2010), the Grande Médaille des Arts Plastiques de l’Académie d’Architecture de Paris (2011) and Lehmbruck Prize (2017).
Visitors to Centre Pompidou-Metz have already been able to discover one of her installations as part of the exhibition Infinite Garden. From Giverny to Amazonia (2017). The exhibition Rebecca Horn. Theatre of Metamorphoses will be the first large-scale monograph devoted to the artist in France since her presentation at the Musée de Grenoble in 1995 and at the Carré d’Art in Nimes in 2000. Curators: Emma Lavigne, Director, and Alexandra Müller, exhibition and research officer, Centre Pompidou-Metz The exhibition Rebecca Horn. Body Fantasies will be presented by the Museum Tinguely in Basel from 5 June to 22 September 2019.