Roni Horn: Butterfly Doubt at Hauser & Wirth
The art of word-play and the absurdity it can lead to forms the entertaining core of this new exhibition from Roni Horn, hosted by Hauser & Wirth. Made up of drawings from three of her recent series Or (2014), Hack Wit (2013-2014) and Remembered Words (2013), Butterfly Doubt comprises an impressive display featuring numerous skilfully crafted and enchanting works.
Creating pieces including various mediums such as sculpture, installation art, draughtsmanship, photography and writing, Horn utilises drawing as a primary activity, helping to underpin her wider practice.
The exhibition extends over two rooms; the first features the Hack Wit drawings. Taking inspiration from sculpture, Horn has cut the drawings into thin strips and reassembled them into new, tessellating forms. It is a surprising yet effective method that gives each drawing its own unique pattern with an eye-catching effect. Their real charm, however, comes from the content: each piece features its own expression made up of two idiomatic turns of phrase. The result demonstrates the ability of the conscious mind to take a sentence and be creative with it. The papers feature equally entwined phrases such as “Bring home rainbows chasing the bacon”. Using colours that evoke imagery, the expressions somehow become pictures as well.
The second room displays the Remembered Words drawings, a series of pieces made up of gouache samples, some conventional, others less so, all with a word underneath each shade or colour. As opposed to the standard naming of shades, Horn has used grouped words similar in meaning or phonetic malleability. Personal interpretation also features prominently, both in literal and conceptual terms: a yellow tone is named “vomit” and a black tone is named “cervix”. It all makes for thought-provoking but accessible art.
Butterfly Doubt is an powerful exhibition. It is well organised and full of interesting content. Both rooms offer an insight into the mind and work of an artist, but also offer a sense of relatability – as if Horn has put into her artwork the thoughts and words we have all played with in our own minds. It is certainly worth seeing for its unique stance on the medium and its relationship with the written word.
Roni Horn: Butterfly Doubt is at Hauser and Wirth London until 25th July 2015, for further information visit here.