For the past 30 years, the work of Roni Horn has been intimately involved with the singular geography, geology, climate and culture of Iceland. Since her first encounter with the island as a young arts graduate visiting from the United States, Horn has returned to Iceland frequently over the years. Iceland has been muse and medium to Roni Horn.
Horn explores the mutable nature of art through sculptures, works on paper, photography, and books. She describes drawing as the key activity in all her work because drawing is about composing relationships. Horn’s drawings concentrate on the materiality of the objects depicted. She also uses words as the basis for drawings and other works. Horn crafts complex relationships between the viewer and her work by installing a single piece on opposing walls, in adjoining rooms, or throughout a series of buildings.
She subverts the notion of ‘identical experience’, insisting that one’s sense of self is marked by a place in the here-and-there, and by time in the now-and-then. She describes her artworks as site-dependent, expanding upon the idea of site-specificity associated with Minimalism. Horn’s work also embodies the cyclical relationship between humankind and nature—a mirror-like relationship in which we attempt to remake nature in our own image.
Weather, inspired by her experiences on Iceland, has played an important role in Roni Horn’s work. One example is Vatnasafn/Library of Water and installation in Stykkisholmur that is made up of water collected from Icelandic glaciers.
“Weather, is the key paradox of our time. Weather that is nice is often weather that is wrong. The nice is occurring in the immediate and individual, and the wrong is occurring system-wide.”