Photographs by Roni Horn. Text by Philip Larratt-Smith
Steidl/Hauser & Wirth, 2008. 36 pp., 20 color illustrations., 11x12".
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.
Read Shane Lavalette's review of Bird in photo-eye Magazine.