‘The drawings are something I’ve carried on over decades, and they form a kind of breathing activity on a daily level…When I looked up the word ‘draw’ in the dictionary, I found that there were twenty-two definitions, one of which was to delineate with lines. The other twenty-one definitions are all dialectic activities, to metamorphose, to translate, to take aim…That’s where I took off from with the idea of drawing…these lines for example, are not lines, they’re edges. In other words it’s material and it’s physical reality, they’re constructions of space with a reasonable analogy to architecture.’
– Roni Horn
(From: ‘Art and Architecture’ (Chinati Symposium, Marfa TX, 1998))
Hauser & Wirth Zürich presents ‘Wits’ End Sampler | Recent Drawings’, an exhibition of large-scale drawings by acclaimed American artist Roni Horn and the unveiling of a new installation.
For Horn, drawing is a primary activity that has been a defining area of her artistic practice since 1980, and the pigment drawings explore recurrent themes of identity, interpretation and textual play. In drawings from the Yet series, Horn has worked powdered pigment, graphite and varnish into a few first phase drawings called ‘plates’, which are then cut apart. These pieces are then rearranged and assembled, and may undergo several more cycles of splicing and stitching together before taking their ultimate form. Pencil marks, numbers and words are interspersed between shards of colour as Horn annotates the joining of plates in each drawing.
‘Wits’ End Sampler’ is a new installation that will be shown for the first time in Zurich. Idioms and textual play have always been a significant part of Horn’s work. For this project, Horn invited strangers and associates to write out idioms and clichés of their choosing. This eventually accumulated into over 1000 individual phrases all handwritten by the many authors. Walls of the second floor gallery will be silk-screened with these idioms to create a constructed linguistic environment. ‘Wits’ End Sampler’ is a work where Horn acts as ‘a choreographer of words’, as Gary Indiana has called the artist.