Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
May 20 - August 20
Roni Horn’s glass sculptures, at first glance, could be dismissed as a collection of attractive and costly manufactured objects. A home-decor store might sell a smaller-scale, mass-produced version of them. Yet upon careful inspection, they provoke an astonishing range of experiences. Meticulously created from solid cast glass generally used for the sensitive lenses of telescopes, these chest-high cylinders are semitransparent light collectors. Each form is suffused with a singular pale color: one a soft blue, one pastel purple, another faint peach; two are made without color, though ambient hues are absorbed and made visible. These cylinders—each weighing more than ten thousand pounds—are created from molds that deposit vertical seams and subtle striations along the frosted exteriors. In contrast, the tops of the cylinders are pristinely smooth and transparent; peered into from above, each work offers a view resembling the interior of a crystalline lake.
A fascinating alternation between the inherent thingness of the sculptures, and the reflected world, takes place across the mirrored surface. Horn lures viewers into a kind of meditative reverie, only to draw our attention back to our bodies and the room we inhabit. Dispersed across the gallery space, the sculptures mimic the exacting presence of the natural world—the slick and majestic translucency of icebergs comes to mind. Though the works are methodically constructed, one starts to forget their intricate craft and instead feels an almost primordial and hypnotic connection to their gradations. Horn’s long-standing enchantment with Iceland feels robustly present as a pristine, unadorned light gathers, reflects, and penetrates these affecting forms.