Rebecca Horn: Scratching Both Walls at Once, 1974-75

«Berlin Exercises in Nine Pieces» Exercise 1: Scratching Both Walls at Once, 1974 – 1975

Rebecca Horn (1944-) uses the «Finger Gloves» object to measure the dimensions of an interior space. The scratching of the body extensions is audible.

“Between 1968 and 1972, German artist Rebecca Horn created a series of performances titled “Personal Art.” Not unlike Joseph Beuys, an artist with whom she readily claims affinity, Horn ascribes the genesis of this work to a single near-death experience. As a young sculptor in the 1960s, Horn, like many artists of her generation, worked with fiberglass and polyester. Unaware of the toxicity of these materials, the artist suffered severe lung damage followed by a long period of convalescence. Limited to drawing in her hospital bed, Horn sketched images of the human body and designs for wearable sculptures, or “body extensions.” She then sewed and constructed these, tailoring them to exactly fit her measurements and those of her friends and collaborators. Made of cloth, wood, bandages, belts, feathers, and found objects, Horn’s masks and extensions contain, constrain, and/or elongate the bodies of their wearers. To this day, Horn can be said to continually build upon this oeuvre. She is known to return to earlier objects and performances by citing or even reworking them. “My works are stations in a transformative process,” she has said. A “development that is never really finished.”1

Conceived as dialogues between Horn’s body and the space, Berlin-Exercises revisits themes explored in “Performances II.” In Scratching Both Walls at Once the dimensions of Horn’s Finger Gloves are extended further. Keyed to the width of her studio, Horn slowly scratches the tips of these even longer gloves along the walls to either side.” [credit]


finger extensions in a box

Fabric, wood and metal Object, each: 70 × 1735 × 45 mm; Credit