26 May - 12 August 2023


The exhibition The Journey to China at Hua International Gallery is her first ever solo show in China. It is curated by Rebecca Horn’s Berlin-based gallerist Thomas Schulte.



In the 1970s, Rebecca Horn’s artistic work was primarily focused on performance and body-related works as well as experimental film. Around 1980, these increasingly developed into sculptural machines that perform symbolic movements. Since the 1990s, photo collages and especially gouache painting have also become important aspects of her artistic practice.



Rebecca Horn’s machines, which range from huge grand pianos mounted on the ceiling to small and fragile objects, have become increasingly poetic in recent years. They can almost be seen as poems that describe situations of encounters and serendipitous moments of happiness.They seem to lead their own lives,replac- ing the human body without copying it. The artist herself says these machines “have a soul because they act, shake,tremble,faint,almost fall apart,and then come back to life again.They are not perfect machines (...) I’m interested in the soul of a thing,not the machine itself.(...) It’s the story between the machine and its audience that interests me.”


The exhibition The Journey to China brings together a selection of such kinetic, mechanically controlled sculptures and gouaches created after 2000. At its center is the work The Burning Bush (2001), in which long branches constructed from metal strive up- and outward, lifting and lowering themselves in a slow rhythm. Formally and thematically, this piece interacts with two large glass vitrines, each of which contain a poetic collection of objects that are set in relation to each other.Here,in The Two-Eyed Man (2019) we find a collage made out of a bamboo branch, a large seashell, a colored pencil, and a glass egg filled with sand. When the motor sets the composition in movement,the bamboo branch sways up and down slowly moving towards the tip of the seashell but its pointy leaves never really make contact.


The metal branches of The Burning Bush and the delicate bamboo tufts in The Two-Eyed Man enter into a conversation with the large gouache titled The Blood Tree (2011), in which streams of red paint are rising in the air, branching out, dripping and swirling.



The works on view all incorporate motifs that appear elsewhere in Rebecca Horn’s oeuvre too and constitute an integral part of her artistic vocabulary. They employ multiple elements that echo throughout Horn’s larger body of work. The violin and the bow behind the glass in the second vitrine titled Forbidden Game - Lazlo’s Violin (2019) for example, echo the artist’s iconic installations The Tower of the Nameless and Concert for Buchenwald, both shown in historically and politically charged places of Vienna and Weimar.



Like this,the exhibition offers a window to the symbolically charged cosmos of Rebecca Horn,which,through its openness and poetry, continues to have a profound impact today.

Installation Views
Photo by Haiyang courtesy of the artist and Hua International, Exhibition Designed by Krista Xueying Yu.