Essay by Jenny Kalionis
Anna Horne’s sculptural practice has always emphasised process and materiality, articulating states of tension and the transience of the material world. Over the last two years, the scale of Horne’s work has reduced considerably, as her focus has shifted from the development of medium-to-large scale sculptures, to interconnected objects which interrogate the connections between accumulations of objects. In 'Lightweight Heavy' Horne builds upon this strategy, through the presentation of a cluster of objects and ready-mades as a multitudinous narrative and a formal puzzle.
This focal point is reflected in the exhibition’s title, 'Lightweight Heavy', which is derived from Horne’s focus on the balance and opposition between forces and materials in her art practice, in reference to that most brutal and tactical sport, boxing. Specifically, Lightweight Heavy relates to the technical terms for standard boxing weight classes; limits that are designated to avoid disparities in size between competitors. In boxing, these weight classes are not usually conflated (as they are in the title of this exhibition), but fighters can traverse these boundaries throughout their careers or meet in a mutually agreed upon ‘catchweight’.
Horne references the history of sculpture, in particular Post-Minimalists such as Eva Hesse, however; the artist also forges something original through the scale of the works presented in 'Lightweight Heavy'. In an accumulative display, small and interrelated objects (including found objects and ready-mades) are dispersed throughout the central spaces of the Fontanelle gallery. This approach emphasizes Horne’s process and a new approach to her work; which on mass amounts to an immersive experience in which objects amalgamate in an exploration of weight, delicacy and beauty.
'Lightweight Heavy' encompasses studio-based sculptural works which employ materials common to Horne’s practice and which, whilst they are disparate, are cohesive once installed in the exhibition space. Materials which relate to domestic and architectural spaces such as concrete, plaster, vinyl, and metal, have always been a foundation of Horne’s work. More recently, Horne has been casting objects such as plastic bags, wine bags and beach balls in concrete and plaster, and then suspending them in string baskets; light and heavy, constricted together and weighed down by gravity; the mundane made beautiful. Lightweight Heavy addresses tensions between these commonplace materials by exploring weight and the force of gravity upon plaster, concrete, steel, pavers, tiles and plastic bags, tubes, sports balls, string and polystyrene. This resistance is enacted through acts of destruction, constriction and piling, and through repetitive measures. Arcs of metal lace through solid forms and the objects exude sensations of weight; pulling, pushing, tethered and balanced.
Boxing is a tactical sport which relies heavily on instinct, endurance and repetitive training techniques, it is complex and in many ways similar to the processes of making that Horne employs in her work. In Lightweight Heavy objects, like sparring partners, are met with force, exploited for their strength and weaknesses in the face of the undeniable power of gravity. The artist reveals the inexactness of each object, and in this installation each exerts a reliance on the differing weight of the other, each one overlapping into the next and meeting together in the catchweight of Horne’s practice.