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Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt announces Roni Horn Portrait of an Image

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt presents Roni Horn Portrait of an Image open December 12, 2013–January 26, 2014.

In collaboration with the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, the American artist Roni Horn (b. 1955) is presenting an extended form of a photographic work she developed in 2005, Portrait of an Image (with Isabelle Huppert): sixteen striking interventions comprised of selected motifs from the serial work are distributed in Frankfurt’s urban space, while the complete one-hundred-part series of portraits is being shown in the walkways of the rotunda of the Schirn. This is the very first staging in public space of this kind within Roni Horn’s artistic oeuvre. The two-part series Portrait of an Image (with Isabelle Huppert)—each of which consists of fifty photographs in sequences of five motifs each—is based on a collaboration between Horn and the French film and stage actress Isabelle Huppert. Together they selected earlier roles Huppert had played that the actress then performed again for the camera. For these photographs, Huppert visualized her repertoire solely on the basis of her memory, without the aid of the scripts or the films themselves.

Setting out from the Schirn, Horn places a selection of these motifs in public space in a way that does not reveal that they are part of her work or an artistic project: no mention is made either of the artist or the exhibiting institution, and there is no title that would indicate that it is a work of art. Sixteen motifs appear in places in Frankfurt’s urban space in which advertising is usually displayed—advertising that in our society for the most part relies on the impact of faces. However, in Horn’s work the portraits are not furnished with commentary and therefore raise questions, for example how and whether we can read the face we are looking at even without a prescribed context. The confrontation with these faces in the cityscape provides an opportunity for unexpected, random encounters and recurring meetings, such as they take place in our everyday social coexistence. Selected motifs from the series were visible in Frankfurt’s public space from late September to early October 2013, so that the images can now in part produce an unconscious sense of recognition.

Even before the official start of the exhibition, Isabelle Huppert’s face will be visible in places on posters in subway stations and cars as well as on large surfaces. The density of these posters will increase over several days. Some places will be provided with images of the actress over an extended period of time, for example a revolving advertising space below a large urban clock at Frankfurt’s Allerheiligentor or the Holbeinsteg over the Main River, over which a banner will be spanned with a photograph of Huppert. On the first day of the exhibition as well as at another date, motifs on 110 digital advertising spaces will appear and disappear again in Hessian train stations, such as Frankfurt, Offenbach, Wiesbaden, Kassel, Fulda, Giessen, Darmstadt, and Hanau. This is a key feature of the work, which not only examines the art of acting through its concept and the protagonist but becomes visible itself in the realization, in the performance as it were, by means of an exhibition and can only be experienced temporarily, much like what occurs on a stage. Unlike other photographic works by Roni Horn, Portrait of an Image only exists in this form. It has not been recorded in a publication that includes all of the individual images.

According to Max Hollein, director of the Schirn: “The Schirn has set itself the task of continuously implementing large-scale and complex artistic interventions in public space. We are all the more delighted that we are have the opportunity to work with Roni Horn, with one of the most outstanding international artists, and that we can make one of her important photographic works—which time and again deal with questions of identity in a very subtle way—accessible to and able to be experienced by a broad public in Germany.”

Director: Max Hollein
Curator: Kristin Schrader

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Römerberg, D-60311 Frankfurt
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–7pm,
Wednesday–Thursday 10am–10pm
T +49 (0) 69 29 98 82 0
F +49 (0) 69 29 98 82 240
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