“Darkness will always exist within us”
Roni Horn was linked to the artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres by an intense friendship, until AIDS took the latter away in 1996. The Pinault collection invited the American visual artist to orchestrate a dialogue between their two works. She has swarmed her colossal glass lenses in space, punctuated by her own garlands of light and curtains. A minimal, luminous conversation.
It is said that your friendship with Felix Gonzalez-Torres was tied around a sheet of gold…
Yes, he had seen in Los Angeles, in 1990, one of my works, GoldField, a carpet of gold leaf. She had marked him, he wrote to me, and immediately, without knowing each other, a very intense dialogue was born between us. Or rather, we were like two parallels who, when they finally meet, expand their playing field. I don’t really like to talk about the personal aspect, I can just say that he was very funny, intelligent, generous, and not just in art. When he was creating sculptures of heaps of candies that everyone can take as they please, he dreamed of a very deep accessibility, in no way superficial. And there was such light in his eyes!
It is moreover around light that you orchestrate your exhibition as a duo at the Bourse de Commerce…
The question of light is fundamental for my own sculpture. Usually, I avoid artificial light. It simplifies everything: with it, there is nothing left to look at. But I loved working with the famous Felix garland, Untitled (For Stockholm). It inspired me: by installing it, I understood that it would link the whole exhibition; with her, everything was balanced, became fair.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres has peppered his works with allusions to AIDS: at the heart of your exhibition, this curtain of red beads evokes his sick blood. While the question of gender has become essential in the artistic debate, how do you situate yourself in relation to this?
Everyone talks to me about minorities, about status, but that’s irrelevant to me. My sexuality has nothing to do with my art. The question of my gender is nobody’s business. My life is not identifying myself, it is choosing. I see the changes, the evolutions of society, I see more equality: it’s not necessarily better than before, just different. What I claim above all is to live off-brand, unlabeled. All these LGBTQ+ categories come down, in the end, to the same bullshit spawned by binary thinking: we just created new definitions. This tendency is very reactionary and problematic, because it evacuates all questions of context. I thought I had seen everything, but no! Now are we going to remove Toni Morrison from the libraries because she mentions an infanticidal mother in one of her novels? It is to forget that darkness will always exist in us, as it has always existed: I have just seen The Human Beast, of Renoir, according to Zola, it is so revealing in this regard!
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