Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Pencil Mask

Rebecca Horn, Pencil Mask, 1972


Strapped around the head, Rebecca Horn's pencil mask inhabits the perceptual space that exists between erotic/fetish object and horror movie prop from Hellraiser. Encased in this contraption with pencils pointing aggressively outwards, the face is inaccessible to the touch. The purpose of the pencil mask is not to invite touch but to make a mark. The mask transforms the head into an instrument of mark making. The mask isolates but at the same time liberates. 

"All pencils are about two inches long and produce the profile of my face in three dimensions... I move my body rhythmically from left to right in front of a white wall. The pencils make marks on the wall and the image of which corresponds to the rhythm of my movements."

The body rhythmically moving and transmitting its movement on to the pencils becomes a writing/drawing instrument. But the act of mark making here contains all things at once: expression, ritual, threat of violence, control, attraction and repulsion, and ultimately a release of energy.

Rebecca Horn Perfomance II

2 comments:

  1. I thought at first of Arthur Brown's headgear, but that was atop his head. Jack USA

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