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Anaïs Horn
Die Hand voller Stunden, so kamst du zu mir


6.7.2021, 6 pm

7.7. – 1.8.2021

Opening hours
Tue – Sun and bank holidays
10 am – 6 pm

Curated by
Reinhard Braun

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This exhibition is the first in a series of three presentations in addition to the regular 2021 exhibition program at Camera Austria.

Anaïs Horn’s practice is eventful. It unravels diaristically and evolves as a stream of consciousness determined by the medium of photography and its deconstruction.

A series of scenes that, when pieced together, creates a narrative that captures an intimate vantage point.

The exhibition Die Hand voller Stunden, so kamst du zu mir (Your Hand Full of Hours, You Came to Me) at Camera Austria, Graz, is an intimate reflection on the current moment of physical distancing and uncertainty. Taking its title from Paul Celan’s collection of poetry Mohn und Gedächtnis (Poppy and Memory, 1952), the show mixes the visual and the poetic, fragmenting images whilst encompassing different techniques, materials, formats, and registers. Examining the physicality of hands as a symbol of proximity, affection, and care, as well as a nonverbal tool of expression, Horn recounts a personal event as a starting point for a photographic and sculptural dérive, whilst creating a form that is consistently open to the process of becoming.

Exhibitions as a device for the dissemination of hypotheses.

Affected by supinator syndrome in her right hand from the age of fourteen, a paralyzing condition developed as a consequence of extensive piano training, Horn employs this personal event as a lens to reflect on partnership, touch, support, disability, body language, and the current experience of confinement during the coronavirus pandemic. Devised with a sense of theatricality, images expand into cast sculptures, furniture pieces into upholstery, see-through curtains, and clothing items—immersing the viewership whilst conspiring to foster a feeling of déjà vu. Creating an emotional tension between biographical moments and historical references, objects and images, Horn candidly unveils her intimate memories and surroundings, highlighting a spatial shift from the public sphere to the domestic realm.

Photos of an eight-year-old Horn, seated on a Thonet piano stool that resembles the stools in the exhibition, expand our temporal gaze. Horn’s gaze is determined; her feet are not even touching the floor. The stools displayed in the exhibition are accompanied by other views, such as that of a paralyzed hand, the infamous Bocca della Verità, or a jeweled hand holding a pear. Chairs as carriers of experiences. What can the body remember?

That analytical shift of attention from sign to signal, from representation to nonrepresentational.

Hands holding hands.—According to Aristotle, the hand is the “tool of tools.” To touch, to play, to grasp, to size up.
Affective hands, preoccupied hands, shy hands hanging around in oblique participation. Close-ups of hands in the Reines de France et Femmes illustres (Queens of France and Famous Women) sculptures photographed at the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris. A homage to female power and its ability to change the world. Horn touching her partner, his mouth, his ear. A scar, revealing the multiple surgeries that she went through. Hands symmetrically mapping one another, joined in an affective union as a complicit gesture of existence.

Horn builds intimacy by sharing fragments of everyday views taken from the windows of her Paris apartment and studio, counterbalanced by depictions of interiors and domesticity. A yukata kimono, created by sewing together various images printed on crêpe de chine, assumes the role of a transitional object, framing the space yet also breaking divisions between the public and the private. The home as studio, office, healing space, familiar space, love nest, shared space. The shift observed by Beatriz Colomina in The Century of the Bed (published in 2014), annihilating distinctions between personal and productive space, is now the only condition we know. We observe a chair precariously lingering on top of a library shelf, Horn’s partner playing an instrument, climbing a ladder, or repairing something. Their shared Viennese home as the central stage of events. Exploring a position of inability and gestural difficulties, she softly induces viewers to take her perspective, her partner often extending his hands to tasks and processes that she cannot complete alone.

In Greek philosophy, the concept of technē refers to making or doing. As an activity, it is concrete, variable, and context dependent. During the past year, as a consequence of the lockdown limitations—and the proximity to her partner who is a painter—Horn has started to draw, using her paralyzed hand as a medium of expression, drawing to represent and respond to the inputs given. Partnership as a supporting device. Can it cure a physical condition?

Extending a hand is a declaration of love.

Attilia Fattori Franchini

Anaïs Horn, born in Graz (AT), lives in Paris (FR) and Vienna (AT). In her artistic practice, she often interweaves literature/text and pho­tography/video/drawing, exploring moments of intimacy with a special interest in liminality and coming-of age. Her images take on different shapes and haptics, often assembling into installations and artist’s books.


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