Museum Tinguely in Basel and Centre Pompidou-Metz present two parallel exhibitions devoted to the artist Rebecca Horn, offering complementary insights into the work of an artist who is among the most extraordinary of her generation. In the Body Fantasies show in Basel, which combines early performative works and later kinetic sculpture to highlight lines of development within her oeuvre, the focus is on transformation processes of body and machine. The exhibition Theatre of Metamorphoses explores in Metz the diverse theme of transformation from animist, surrealist and mechanistic perspectives, placing special emphasis on the role of film as a matrix within Horn’s work.
Rebecca Horn. Body Fantasies at Museum Tinguely, Basel
Horn’s work is always inspired by the human body and its movement. In her early performative pieces of the 1960s and ’70s, this is expressed via the use of objects that serve as both extensions and constrictions of the body. Since the 1980s, her work has consisted primarily of kinetic machines and, increasingly, large-scale installations that “come alive” thanks to movement, the performing body being replaced by a mechanical actor. These processes of transformation between expanded bodies and animated machines in Horn’s oeuvre, which now spans five decades, are the focus of the Basel show.
Although in terms of materiality the mechanical constructions with their cold metal contrast starkly with Horn’s earlier body extensions made using fabric and feathers, they do pursue and develop their specific movements. The Body Fantasies exhibition juxtaposes performative works and later machine sculptures in order to follow the unfolding development of such motifs of movement. Divided up into four themes (Flapping Wings, Circulating, Inscribing, Touching) the Basel show traces the development of her works as “stations in a process of transformation” (Rebecca Horn), emphasizing this continuity in her work.
This major solo exhibition of her work—that includes body instruments and actions, films, kinetic sculptures and installations—is the first of its kind in Switzerland for more than 30 years, taking place at Museum Tinguely from June 5 to September 22, 2019.
The exhibition Body Fantasies in Basel is curated by Sandra Beate Reimann.
Rebecca Horn. Theatre of Metamorphoses at Centre Pompidou-Metz
First major exhibition in France, after the one at the Musée des Beaux-arts de Grenoble in 1995, the show Rebecca Horn. Theatre of Metamorphoses at Centre Pompidou-Metz follows the processes at work in Rebecca Horn’s research, from her preparatory drawings to her sculptures and installations.
The exhibition reveals in watermarks the affinities they maintain with certain figures of surrealism and their repetition and their transformation during the course of five decades of creation. Rebecca Horn perpetuates in a unique manner, the themes bequeathed to us by mythology and fairytales, such as metamorphosis into a hybrid or mythical creature, the secret life of the world of objects, the secrets of alchemy, or the fantasies of body-robots. These founding themes, which have been present in numerous currents of art history such as Mannerism or Surrealism, resonate in the exhibition. It highlights artists who have nourished her imagination, like Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim, Marcel Duchamp, or Jean Cocteau and whose works are matched with those of Rebecca Horn. This show is an invitation to share this discernible stage so that it becomes for the visitor-spectator “the free space of his own imagination.”
This exhibition will be taking place at Centre Pompidou-Metz from June 8 to January 13, 2020.
The exhibition Theatre of Metamorphoses in Metz is curated by Emma Lavigne and Alexandra Müller.
June 5–September 22, 2019
Theatre of Metamorphoses
June 8, 2019–January 13, 2020
Vernissage: June 4, 6:30pm
Museum Tinguely, Basel
Vernissage: June 7, 7pm
Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz
Image: Rebecca Horn, White Body Fan, 1972. Photograph. Rebecca Horn Collection. © 2019 Rebecca Horn/ProLitteris, Zürich