Anna Horne: CACSA Contemporary 2015
by Sophia Phillips
There is tension in the room – not the kind that makes you feel uncomfortable, the kind that zings and pings around you.
Little nuances, big shifts.
I take one step too far, I imagine the roof is being held like a hot air balloon.
The fluorescent orange rope is wound and wound and wound around a concrete ring, Weigh it up she says. I think I see the flattened base fill out like a chest taking a breath. Those wrinkles I am so taken with, expanding and popping out into bulges.
But it can’t:
The concrete, wonderful concrete.
I love this hard, cold, gritty unforgiving material
(and all the skinned knees it has grated).
It wears these wonderfully endearing, wrinkles and folds.
How eloquent is the material that can communicate fluidity when hard?
What has been soft and become rigid submits to another kind of resistance;
the straight lines, rope pulled taut, that square tube of coated metal,
the light strength versus thick dull weight.
Again I think of Horne placing things into setting bags of concrete, snuggling them in so they fit.
How satisfying is something that fits as well as hardness fits into softness?
No double entendre intended.
* * *
The stacked concrete bags in Mould are monuments of and to labour
- the slap of sand bags in the human assembly line, our bodies just used for work.
They are all balancing within each other, nestling and stacked.
I am reminded of a performance Alison and Bridget Currie did a few years back at SASA Gallery – Alison was bouncing on her toes like a boxer, Bridget was laying what looked like sandbags on her sister’s body, more and more.
I don’t think it’s a surprise that part of that performance was focused on properties of sculpture – weight and form in space.
* * *
In my process-driven mind, the hows and whys intrigue me.
I imagine Horne in her studio (in the appropriate personal protective equipment), mixing concrete, pouring it into (goon?) bags. It’s cool and grey, just starting to warm as the setting starts. Her hands might have that stuff, now turned monumental, running through her fingers.
I think of it in bags - water balloons, breast implants - swaying and wobbling but contained. Glugging and sloshing.
And then all those little particles,
rubbing against each other and exchanging words and numbers, start to harden. Where the grey slop could slither, it is slowly trapped.
Even air bubbles are stilled and stiff.
That transformation of matter, it can echo the whole process of making art. You have your intent, your experimentation, your process – these are all fluid and changeable (within bounds) – and then the products emerge. They are more solid, they have their own story, their own affect. Those insides, the little folds and wrinkles you might not have even known you were making, they are on show.
* * *
Measure how heavy is dragging. Tethered to the white wall, pulling against an inanimate force.
* * *
Maybe that wall is shifting a little.
Maybe even just a few mini-micro-millimetres.
Now that I think of it, it almost certainly has, it must do all the time.
That slightly fun slightly sickening pull at the base of your stomach when you realise that tall building you are standing at the top of is swaying like a sapling.
When I was about 12 I climbed a tree
when there was a storm coming.
(a sweet pittosporum that smelt amazing in spring)
I went right to the top,
where I could feel I was almost too heavy to be,
up in the crow’s nest.
I couldn’t believe how much the tree moved, it felt like the roots were shifting too.
I didn’t last long.