Rebecca Horn

° 1944

Born in Michelstadt (DE), lives in Berlin (DE), lives in Paris (FR).

The German artist and filmmaker Rebecca Horn (°1944) has studies painting and sculpture at the Hamburg Academy. She lives in Barcelona after her studies, where, due to a respiratory ailment, she stays at a health care centre for a long time. There she creates objects that are as bizarre as they are simple, she calls them "body extensions". Eroticised prostheses made of soft materials, which are carried by Horn and her associated artists during performances. The artist leads an adventurous and nomadic life, which brings her alternately to Paris, London, New York and Berlin.

As of the end of the seventies, more and more mechanical equipment and all kinds of disconcerting machines appear in her oeuvre, and references to occult rituals are embroidered with masks, feathers, wings and prostheses. Her theatrical-poetic imagination conceives a wondrous dream world, filled with emotional fragility and a desire for transformation.

At the end of the seventies this constant tension between performance and representation leads to the production of a first feature film – Der Eintänzer, which is followed by four more films, in which the artist brings sculptures and choreographies from her pictorial oeuvre to life. These are bizarre stories, full of unexpected, surrealistically tinted twists and turns. In these films, her objects gain an increasing independence – they appear as actors next to living persons: hammers hammer away on their own, empty swings swing back and forth, springs move until they come to a stop, with unexpected force and violence. Lifeless objects gain a human inspiration, and people turn into monstrous machines. The mechanised sculptures become pictures of human vulnerability, impotence, aggression or desire. Conversely, the persons in the films lose their intuitive and individual capacities and, in their obsessive behaviour, begin to resemble machines. Above all, these films evoke her mental obsession for the imperfect body and of imploring rites for coping with this.

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