Rebecca Horn (German, b.1944) is an artist, film director, and poet best known for various types of body sculptures and modifications. Horn is considered to be one of the most influential artists of the Kinetic Art movement. Horn was born in Michelstadt, Germany, and quickly developed a virtual obsession with drawing, using it as a medium of communication that she viewed as much less limiting than the spoken word. In 1968, contrary to her parent’s wishes, Horn enrolled in the Hamburg Academy of Fine Arts for a year, until she was pulled out due to a case of serious lung poisoning from her unprotected work with glass fiber. Following a year in a hospital for treatment, Horn struggled with her infirmity, and the resulting inability to work with her favored media of polyester and fiberglass. This prompted her to work with softer materials, such as colored pencils, which remained her favorite drawing medium throughout her entire life.
Horn began to produce body sculptures in 1968, which resulted in several of the pieces for which she is most famous. Einhorn (1972) depicted her with a long horn attached to her head, and was presented in a performance piece as part of the exhibition Documenta. Another well-known piece, Pencil Mask (1972), consisted of a facial mask made of vertical and horizontal straps with pencils attached where the straps intersected. Horn also produced many sculptures, including Cockfeather Mask (1973), Paradise Widow (1975), and The Feathered Prison Fan (1978). Horn eventually began to work as a director in film, and produced her first feature-length film in 1978. Throughout her career as a director, many of her films depicted her earlier sculptures and other work presented with a narrative.
Many of Horn’s works have been included in various exhibitions, including her first solo exhibition in 1973. In 1993, her work was showcased in a traveling exhibition mounted by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, with presentations in Vienna, London, and Berlin. Horn’s work can be seen in many collections around the globe, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Tate Gallery in London. She has also received many prestigious awards throughout her career, which include the Carnegie Prize in 1988 and the Kaiserring Goslar in 1992. Horn lives and works in Berlin and Paris.