Schule / School
March 27 to April 24, 2004
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is pleased to present 'Schule/School', Sabine Hornig's third solo exhibition with the gallery. Manipulating the language of Minimalist architecture and Modernist forms, Hornig weaves photography, sculpture and installation into a sequence of environments that provoke a discourse on scale, perception, and memory. Playing with the universality of generic Modernism, Hornig displaces architectural structures and manipulates scale in order to present the representational as abstract. Perhaps the most ambitious exploration of her multi-media vocabulary, ‘Schule/School’ serves to integrate of the rigorously formal with the poetic narrative.
Glass and aluminum foyers and wooden pavilions, modified structures appropriated from a prototype for a German school, function as the main sculptural components of the show. The repetition of this institutional building over and again throughout Germany generates for students an experience that is uncannily universal, and specific, at the same time. The schoolhouse itself is a cultural institution both public and private, describing both a location, and a community. Further, the school brings a particularly interesting dynamic to the exploration of scale and memory. As a small child perceives the world, teachers are taller, rooms are larger, and desks are bigger. This perspective changes when the grown-up student returns, as memory distorts scale and nostalgia functions as a filter for perception.
The glass and aluminum cube in the main gallery represents the version of the structure in an objective state. Here, we can perceive the entire building from outside, as we see the pavilion roof from below, set within the clean white cube of the gallery with its cement floors, its white walls, its bright lights. Of course, this is actually a constructed purity; the clean white-box positioned as unbiased space, a human invention. As the visitor moves from the main space to the smaller, perspective is flipped. The visitor finds their self inside the glass and steel cube that was observed moments before. This larger version of the cube is placed within the reconfigured smaller gallery. Affixed with large format transparencies of a wooded area, it is set within an imaginary forest, emphasizing the 'natural state' as opposed to the white cube. Yet, in the gallery context, this natural state is the foreign environment - the dream, the hallucination. Another pavilion-like roof is visible only through the thick brush of vegetation, its outline illuminated via a series of lights on its underside.
Another large wall seen when exiting the gallery suggests an imaginary view into an empty classroom. Built into this wall, a set of glass windows is affixed with large-format transparencies featuring photographic images of an empty classroom. Presenting an image on the one hand, the windows also function as lenses through which the rest of the architectural space is viewed.
Last summer, Sabine Hornig was the subject of Projects 78, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Recent group shows include Telefónica's Contemporary Photography Collection, Telefónica Foundation, Madrid; A Nova Geometria, Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo; The invisible and the Visible as an Indivisible Unity,Mendelson Haus, Berlin; Skulptur-bienale Münsterland 2001, Galerie Emsdetten; ein/räumen, Kunsthalle Hamburg, Germany; Best of the Season, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT.