Since the early 1970s, Rebecca Horn has created an important oeuvre encompassing performances, films, sculptures, spatial installations, drawings, and photographs. Her works poetically embody Horn’s long-held interests in science and alchemy, the rational and the intuitive, the immaterial and the sensual, the natural and the mechanical, the sacred, and the profane.
Today we go #InDetail with Augen Wirbel, 2015, an example of Horn’s work utilizing vitrines, which constitute an integral part of her artistic vocabulary and employ multiple elements that echo throughout her larger body of work. The content of each vitrine is always different—some are mechanized, some are not. These poetic collections often incorporate objects, text, and elements that appear elsewhere in her work; butterflies, trees, shells, musical scores, feathers, funnels, and mechanized elements. This particular vitrine, the title of which translates roughly as “Swirling Eyes,” was made at the time Horn was creating her body landscape paintings, works in which she references the figure through the repetition of circles, a symbol of unity and infinity, with no beginning and no end. The mechanized wire needles or styluses move in and out of the vitrine repetitively, referencing the body as well as the needles and armatures she attached to her body in many of her early performances, which were about exploring and “feeling” space. Through her use of movement and the circle Horn strongly alludes to the work of Marcel Duchamp, an artist of great importance to her, referencing his utilization of his optical Roto Reliefs.
#RebeccaHorn, Augen Wirbel, 2015, steel, glass, painting on the surface of the glass, electronic device, motor, brass, wire, overall: 48 x 35 7/16 x 7 1/2 inches (122 x 90 x 19 cm)