Watercolour, graphite, gum arabic on watercolour paper, cellophane tape
59.1 × 41.9 cm (23 1/4 × 16 1/2 in)
Framed: 68 × 49.5 × 3.9 cm (26 4/5 × 19 1/2 × 1 1/2 in)
Copyright Roni Horn
Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth
Provenance: donated by the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Estimate: CHF 60’000 – 80’000
This item will be sold during the Live Auction at the Fondation Beyeler on Saturday, 15 September 2018 at 21:00 CEST.
Bid registration for this item will close on Saturday, 15 September 2018 at 17:00 CEST.
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Here, two rhetorical questions to which English-speakers wishing to avoid an obvious affirmative have recourse, “Does a bear shit in the woods?” and “Is the Pope a Catholic?” have been wittily spliced together to produce: “Catholic bear does the Pope shit in the woods?”
The American artist Roni Horn (born 1955 in New York) in 2014 embarked on a new drawing project called Hack Wit. The title names the twin principles by which Horn was guided: that of hacking, in the sense of both “cutting up” and penetrating a system, and wit, with its connotations of playfulness, astuteness, and creativity. She proceeds by making watercolours of two English or American clichés or proverbs, which she then “hacks to pieces” and recombines to produce a new lexical composition. While the original sayings can be reconstructed, at least in part, they are transformed to such an extent that the results often verge on the absurd. Divorced from their original context, the coloured words dance across the paper, playfully forming new figures of speech in their own right.