I first became aware of Rebecca Horn through a German-born painter friend. I can’t remember just how long ago it was— ten years? more?—but I recall clearly my initial encounter with a large black-and-white image of a woman folded into a giant fan. It was a new addition to a changing display on my friend’s studio wall, an unpredictable collection that is a key to her preoccupations of the moment and a tribute to her ability to extract the particular from the random. It has included, at various times, photos of New Guinea warriors in paint and feathers, pictures of Islamic carpets, African textiles, exotic reptiles, gardens in the south of France, Indonesian basketwork, pictures of her children and herself, and pages from Arabic and Chinese newspapers. For a while there was a marvelous photograph of two raincoat-clad elderly Englishwomen, headscarves knotted under their chins, at work on a painting of a horse; seated comfortably on a...

 
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