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Rebecca Horn in #StaffPicksSaturday

Ben Polsky, Director, Operations and Exhibitions, has selected Rebecca Horn’s work on paper, Die Geliebte (The Lovers), 2007 for #StaffPicksSaturday

"The intense, rapid movement captured in this painting leaves me thinking about the actions and force involved in its creation. This elusive limbo between the thing and its making offers an experience of the art and the artist simultaneously. Taking in this work, which is scaled to the artist’s own proportions, one can feel the piercing marks split wildly against their paper embedment. As the title may suggest, its physicality and figurative apparition are proof of an intense interaction between the artist and her self-reflective surface. The resulting image is more a transference of being rather than an exercise in self-portrayal. This deliberate shadowboxing happens, not surprisingly, to become a beautiful painting that exemplifies the artist’s own words precisely: ‘The transformation of the experience, that is pure art.’

#RebeccaHorn cemented her life as an artist out of her yearlong struggle with isolation and loneliness while recovering from lung poisoning. It is often with artists, that more profound creativity occurs when the universe closes in and their reality becomes confined to the few meters surrounding them. Not unlike Frida Kahlo, painting her torso casts while restrained by her own long convalescence, Rebecca Horn’s despairing experience became subject and material, marking a creative metamorphosis, literally, as she discovered the possibilities of body modification. Horn’s progression from attaching performative apparatus to her body, to creating mark-producing automatons and kinetic sculptural systems, is synthesized in this artwork. The artist herself is the machine, engaging the work with the same succinct programming of action calibrated into her mechanized sculptures. Simple, humane gestures resulting from complex design. Like her early experience with confinement and discovering the infinite possibilities for creative freedom from within, Rebecca Horn’s painting offers us to be similarly confined to a moment of utter freedom. Our world could use that moment right now…” - @bpol37