Early morning sunlight pours in through skylights. It feels “fresh”. Scattered around the room, like seeds or stars, are ten basins; all the same shape, just over knee height, and filled to their very brim with liquid. The upper surface glints with sun—you fix on it as you walk closer, looking for any tremble to show you that it is actually water. But step by step it stays placid, until, standing directly over it, you are looking right through.
They are solid cast glass, a technique reminiscent of le Corbusier’s béton brut where wooden planks used to form a wall leave their impression in poured concrete. I’ve always thought about this as a kind of fossilized touching. Horn’s objects seem like the slats of a barrel were filled with molten glass then pulled away, leaving the sides slightly rough, almost frosted; they curve in a bit at the top, enclosing an interior. The upper surface remains an untouched field. Horn describes this as an “oculus” which brings to mind the pantheon. Like the pantheon each wants to contain its own cosmology.
There are ten of these all being themselves, almost identical in form but each a slightly different shade of green. Not emerald-grass greens but pale greens: olives and peridots and chartreuses. Each color feels full of itself, nuanced and varied; they show you how generally useless a word like “green” is. The colored glass is so transparent it is almost opaque. Glass is a sensual material like rock candy. It readily slides into metaphorical associations, becoming water and ice, but, like the physics of the glass itself, it never solidifies into one thing. They offer the experience of a relentlessly ambiguous and utterly specific object—densities that show a continuity between inside and outside, heavy but fragile. Metaphors hover but never land for long.
This sculpture has a long title: “My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the deathcup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.” (2013
“Everything was sleeping as if the universe were a mistake” is on view through January 11th, 2014.
For more information visit Hauser & Wirth, New York.
-Contributed by Jarrett Earnest