The Pola Museum of Art is pleased to present a solo exhibition of the work of Roni Horn, one of the most
prominent American artists working today. This will be her first solo exhibition at a museum in Japan.
Many of Horn’s works are inextricably linked to nature, with subjects including the waters of the River
Thames, hot springs in Iceland, and glass sculptures whose surfaces evoke liquid reflectivity. Horn
employs a wide range of media, including photography, sculpture, drawing and books, and often
presents her work in paired or sequenced form. The recurrence of motifs across widely varied media is
reminiscent of the nature of water, which changes form and appearance depending on relationships
with its environment and surroundings. Water and rivers themselves, which represent the human spirit
and transience in East Asian philosophy, frequently appear within Horn’s oeuvre, as the title of this
The exhibition will be an in-depth survey of the artist’s practice spanning over 40 years, from the 1980s
to the present, exploring a multifaceted body of work including the glass sculptures that are among her
most prominent works of recent years. Horn’s art harnesses a sense of ambiguity in an era in which
value systems and ideas about the nature of truth change rapidly. The artist casts an unwavering gaze,
ceaseless as a river’s flow, upon the essence of things – this exhibitions invites viewers to do the same,
offering inspiration and time for reflection.
First Large-Scale Solo Exhibition in Japan by One of America’s Foremost Contemporary Artists
This is the first Japanese museum exhibition of the work of Roni Horn, an artist who has long been at the forefront of contemporary art and soared to greater prominence in 2009-2010 with large-scale exhibitions at the Tate Modern (London) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York). This will also be the first large-scale solo exhibition of a contemporary artist at the Pola Museum of Art since the museum first opened in 2002.
Tracing 40 Years of a Diverse Practice Including Photography, Drawing, and Glass Sculpture
This exhibition will showcase the artist’s consistent focus on the issue of continuity and differentiation through a diverse group of works ranging from her early output of the 1980s, to the multi-part photographic work You Are the Weather, Part 2 (2010-2011) which is among her best-known works, to drawings that gradually evolve in scale and complexity while presenting recurring motifs. The exhibition will dynamically trace the varying trajectories of Roni Horn’s practice through works including large drawings approximately three meters in height and nine of the glass sculptures which are among her most prominent works of recent years.
Encountering Horn’s Work in the Natural Environment of Hakone
Throughout her career, Roni Horn has consistently produced works which feature nature as a subject. She has been particularly influenced by the rugged volcanic and glacial environments of Iceland, where she has traveled frequently and extensively. Her glass sculptures, whose surfaces can evoke the appearance of water, serenely reflect the surrounding landscape and the viewer. Japan being a volcanic archipelago and Hakone a famous hot spring destination since ancient times, they have much in common with Iceland. In addition to a presentation in the galleries overlooking the verdant forest of the Sengokuhara highlands, a large glass sculpture will also be installed along the Nature Trail in the woods outside the museum.
Original Exhibition Merchandise Jointly Produced with BEAMS DESIGN
Limited-edition original merchandise for this exhibition will be produced by BEAMS DESIGN. The museum is scheduled to develop an extensive lineup of limited-edition goods only available on this occasion, including original T-shirts, tote bags, mugs and more that incorporate Horn’s artworks. These will be for sale at the Pola Museum of Art Museum Shop and the official online shop from September 18.
03 Main Exhibited Works
The glass sculptures are among Roni Horn’s most prominent works of recent years. The unresolved nature of glass, as a substance that from the perspective of physics is neither solid nor liquid, echoes the ambiguous and open-ended nature of the artist’s work. Each of these pieces, whose surfaces can evoke the appearance of water, is actually a block of glass weighing hundreds of kilogram that is slowly annealed in molds over great lengths of time. A total of nine glass sculptures will be installed in an expansive gallery with large windows and in the forest outside the museum, gently reflecting their surroundings and diffusing light while simultaneously containing contradictory qualities––static and dynamic, gentle and rough, surface layer andabyssal depth, transparency and massive volume.
Roni Horn describes drawing as her most primary activity, comparing it to “being like breathing.” It is the only practice she has pursued continually from 1982 to the present. The content of the drawings ranges from abstract lines and shapes to text fragments quoted from a variety of sources, including poems and plays, all inextricably linked both to movements of her hands and to personal thoughts and memories. The seven monumentally sized drawings occupying one large gallery in this exhibition are approximately three meters in height. Close examination of the drawings will reveal the handwritten symbols, marks, and incisions in the paper, indicating that the works have been cut into pieces and then recombined using a delicate manual process.
You are the Weather, Part 2
Since she received a Petri camera from her father as a teenager, photography has been an interest for Roni Horn. This extensive series, comprising 100 portraits of a woman staring straight out at the viewer from every wall of the gallery, were taken at Icelandic hot springs over a six-week period and document subtle shifts in her facial expression. In everyday life, we often describe people’s states of being or experiences using weather terms – someone can “have a sunny nature” or be “walking on air,” or less happily, their face may “cloud over” when it “rains on their parade.” As we survey the 100 facial expressions of a single woman, no two alike, always changing in an alternatively placid or intense way like the weather, we find that constant change lurks even within that which is ostensibly the same.
Bouquet of Emily
Language and literature are crucial elements that have shaped Roni Horn as an artist, and many quotations from texts appear in her works. She draws on a truly diverse wealth of sources, including Paul Valéry, Henry David Thoreau, Rainer Maria Rilke, Franz Kafka, Flannery O’Connor and Edgar Allan Poe, but the renowned American poet Emily Dickinson is of particular importance to the artist. Bouquet of Emily is a group of six aluminum bars featuring selected fragments of text from letters Dickinson sent. The phrases are only legible when viewed than the front – from other angles, the letters of the alphabet are deconstructed into pure forms.
04 Artist Profile
Roni Horn (b. 1955) lives and works in New York. She is known for conceptually oriented works in a variety of media including photography, sculpture, drawing, and books. Since 1975, Horn has traveled extensively in the more remote landscapes of Iceland. These solitary experiences have long been important influences in her life and work. She has had many major solo exhibitions, at venues including the Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2003), Tate Modern (London, 2009), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, 2009-2010), and Fondation Beyeler (Riehen, Switzerland, 2016 and 2020).
05 General Information
When You See Your Reflection in Water, Do You Recognize the Water in You?
Sat., September 18, 2021 – Wed., March 30, 2022
Pola Museum of Art, Galleries 1 and 2
1285 Kozukayama, Sengokuhara, Hakone, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa, 250-0631 Japan
Pola Museum of Art, Pola Art Foundation
- In association with
United States Embassy
Hauser & Wirth / YAMATO TRANSPORT CO., LTD.