Today we go #IntheArchive with Rebecca Horn’s work The Book of Ashes, 2002, which was included in her solo exhibition, Heartshadows at the gallery, October 12 – November 9, 2002.
#RebeccaHorn’s mechanical sculpture, The Book of Ashes, was intended as a memorial to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. On a mirrored platform strewn with ashes, a long golden needle traces tentative lines in the ash, barely touching the mirror's surface. This movement is reflected in the mirror and resembles streaks of light through dark clouds. To accompany the movement, mournful chords are intermittently heard from a self-performing cello that eerily bows its own strings by automated means. The elegiac nature of this piece makes it particularly appropriate to revisit at this time, given the current uncertainties we face in the world.
Horn’s work encompasses a broad range of media including film, performance, installation, photography, and sculpture, and addresses themes of perception, philosophy, and communication. The employment of such wide-ranging interests as science and alchemy, the rational and the intuitive, the mechanical and the sensual has occurred repeatedly in her work over the last three decades and results in one of the most distinct and individual oeuvres in the art world.
Rebecca Horn, The Book of Ashes, 2002, steel, mirror, carbon, gold leaf, mechanical structure, ashes, cello, 2 cello bows and sound, installation dimensions variable, mirror: 100 x 71 x 4 inches, mechanical stylus: 168 inches, cello: 52 1/2 x 31 x 43 inches