Fall 2005 Talks
In her nuanced, wide-ranging body of work, Roni Horn (b.1955, New York City, NY) explores the changing nature of the physical world through photography, sculpture, works on paper, and artist's books. Since the mid-1970s, Horn has formed a unique artistic practice involving minimalism, wordplay, literature, water, weather, Iceland, and much more. Her installations engage physical space, often requiring active participation of her viewers to locate the elements of difference and identity that are central to her work. Whether focusing on the restless surface of the Thames River or on her niece's expressive face, Horn's photo series depict a subject in many (often subtle) variations. Taken together they portray what she describes as "the multitude of one." In her most recent photo series, Portrait of an Image (with Isabelle Huppert), Horn photographed the actress in twenty-two sequences of five photographs. In each sequence, Huppert revisits and re-portrays one of her screen characters, resulting in an eloquent work investigating the nature of image and portraiture, individual and identity.
Much of the extensive body of work by Do-Ho Suh (b.1962, Seoul, South Korea) centers on the complex, ambiguous relationship between the individual and the crowd, a focus largely precipitated by his move from Korea to New York in the early 1990s. His works, which beckon the viewer in for a closer look, give substance and immediacy to abstract concerns such as human relationships, displacement, personal space, and personal history. Interested in the malleability of space in both its physical and metaphorical manifestations, Suh constructs site-specific installations that question the boundaries of identity and memory. For his recent installation at Maison Hermes Forum in Tokyo, Suh created a life-size replica of the traditional Korean gateway that stood in front of his parents' home in Seoul. Crafted in diaphanous, ice-blue nylon mesh, the sculpture featured two identical gates, one installed upside down beneath the other. The work could be viewed from above or below, so that any view of the gate also contained its double, offering a breathtaking illusion of reflection and transformation of space.
For more than a decade, artist and glassblower Josiah McElheny (b.1966, Boston, MA) has been engaged in a conceptual exploration of the way in which cultural, art historical, and anecdotal information shapes the way we perceive objects. His elegant sculptural installations bridge tradition and modernity, variously elaborating on Buckminster Fuller's utopian theories on abstraction and reflection, the haute couture designs of Christian Dior, the writings of Jorge Luis Borges, religious fables, Renaissance painting and philosophy, and other wide-ranging topics. For An End to Modernity, his new commission by the Wexner Center for the Arts, McElheny reflects upon the history of science and its relationship to modern design. In 1965, the year that the Big Bang Theory was first introduced, the architect for the Metropolitan Opera commissioned a Viennese design firm to create a chandelier with a "galactic appearance." McElheny's two-part installation, inspired by the significant confluence of these two events, features a dazzling glass-and-metal sculpture representing the expansion of the universe and a short film shot on location at the Metropolitan Opera.
Public Art Fund Talks are organized by the Public Art Fund in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School.