Roni Horn: Bird
Text by Philip Larratt-Smith.
Bird is the culmination of Roni Horn's long-running photographic series of taxidermied Icelandic wildfowl. Photographed at close range against white backgrounds which recall conventional studio portraiture, the birds are viewed from behind, abstracting their varied physiognomies and markings into inscrutable shapes and patterns. Despite the title's singularity, the birds in this series are presented as diptychs in order to compare and contrast different species. This gesture of doubling-as an aesthetic and conceptual strategy-has been a consistent motif for Horn since 1980, serving to invite careful scrutiny from the viewer. Horn's images are accompanied by a text from writer and curator Philip Larratt-Smith. In place of the usual catalogue essay, Larratt-Smith has compiled an extended series of quotes and anecdotes from film, literature, photographers' monographs and Horn's own writings.
Roni Horn was born in 1955 in New York, where she continues to live and work. Since earning her MFA from Yale University in 1978, she has shown her sculptures, installations and photographs extensively throughout the world. She has had solo exhibitions at the Dia Center for the Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and her work will be the subject of a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2009.