This unprecedented exhibition stems from the power, radicalness and the artistic affinities of two major figures of our contemporary age, Roni Horn and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Developed around four iconic artworks from the Pinault Collection, exhibited for the first time to a French audience –”Untitled” (For Stockholm) (1992) and “Untitled” (Blood) (1992) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Well and Truly (2009–2010) and a.k.a. (2008–2009) by Roni Horn – this exhibition emphasises the notions of dou-bling up, duality, complexities within repetition, and identity at work in the artists’ respective artistic practices.
The exhibition relates the artistic conversation begun in 1991 between Roni Horn and Felix Gonzalez-Torres, which continued until the latter’s passing in 1996 and that lives on today, notably through this presentation.
In 1990 at the Los Angeles MOCA, Gonzalez-Torres encountered an artwork by Horn entitled Gold Field (1982), a simple sheet of gold foil placed on the ground, that with the slightest puff of air would quiver at its corners.
Gonzalez-Torres was with his partner, Ross Laycock, who passed away shortly after from AIDS-related causes. For the artist, the encounter with this work was a deeply moving experience, one that motivated him to write directly to Horn. A fertile creative dialogue thus began between them, with one artwork responding to the other.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Roni Horn, both conceptual artists, established radical practices with often minimalistic means that contributed to a redefinition of the exhibition as a medium for including the viewer and had a major influence on an entire generation of younger artists. They strive to grasp the inexpressible, the immeas-urable.
For them, what comprises the “œuvre” is the tension produced with the spectator in an artistic experiment linking the artist, spectator, and the object.
Their artworks express a common approach that is uncompromising and has the same economy of means. Their similarities also lie in their shared political or activist themes: issues of identity, the place of minorities, or the tragedy that is AIDS, a way of resisting the vio-lence of our society and its desire to assign established roles. Despite their radicalness, their respective works are no less imbued with poetry and open to beauty, in both an ascetic and striking manner. This exhibition also bears witness to their common and founding passion for language, writing, and poetry.
Thanks to the close involvement of Roni Horn, this exhibition provides the opportunity for this power and these affinities to be seen and felt for the first time in France. In the words of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, on the subject of his friend’s art, it gives an unprecedented outline of a “new landscape, a possible horizon”, and “a place of the imagination”, and in those of Roni Horn, “a field of waves” that is continually reworked.