Roni Horn

These guides focus on identity as one of many important themes in Roni Horn’s work. Horn frequently addresses the fluid nature of identity, and the way identity is shaped by memory, time, place, and language. Her work does so by using repetition and simple forms that call for close attention—similar to that required by reading—while emphasizing the bodily and personal dimensions of this activity. Water and the weather are common figures in her work, offering metaphors for the ways in which things change while remaining the "same" over time.

This guide connects to the topics of other of our Teaching Guides, helping you build a common path through your curriculum. For biographical information and key terms, please refer to Additional Materials below.

Guiding Question

What do you see when you look at water?

How does our identity change and multiply in relation to our environment? How does the way in which we see ourself influence how we see others?


The following exercises are structured to sequentially build on each other. We encourage you to consider how their learning objectives develop as you adapt these exercises to your teaching activities.

Activity Group 1: Identity and Difference

This activity set explores self-portraiture, or "selfies." How do you change across the various selfies you take? Can another person, a landscape or particular place, also represent "you"? Here, we ask you to consider how Horn's images change our conception of self-portraiture and personal identity.

Activity Group 2: Identity and Contexts

Water, for Horn, often works as a metaphor for identity. Water is a mirror-in-action, and continually changes as it reflects its surroundings. Similarly, our identities reflect our environment and those around us. This section explores Horns work with water, asking you to consider how our identities change in relation to different contexts.

Activity Group 3: Reading in Space and Time

Emily Dickinson's poetry frequently appears in Horn's work, and these exercises invite you to consider how Horn uses Dickinson as one of her doubles.

Additional Materials

A thematic intro to Roni Horn's retrospective "Roni Horn aka Roni Horn," Tate Modern, Feb 25—May 9, 2009

Selected Bibliography

Lynne Cook, Exhibition brochure, Dia: Chelsea, October 17, 2001–June 16, 2002

"Roni Horn with Jarrett Earnest,"Brooklyn Rail, December 18, 2013

Roni Horn, "The master chameleon: Water," _Tate Etc._ issue 10: Summer 2007, May 1 2007

"Meet the Artist: Roni Horn," Hirshhorn Museum: Podcast, May 2, 2012

"Roni Horn on Politics in Art," The Creative Independent, February 14, 2017

Marjorie Miccucci, "Roni Horn and her Literary Doubles," Aware Women Artists, August 31, 2018

"Roni Horn by Mimi Thompson," Bomb Magazine, July 1 1989

Jeanette Winterson, "Roni Horn—Entering the Flow-World," March 6 2009


Reading Resources: Roni Horn was produced by Art Resources Transfer (A.R.T.) in collaboration with Wendy Tronrud (A.R.T. Education Consultant) in 2018–19.

A.R.T. acknowledges the invaluable generosity, assistance, and enthusiasm of all who contributed to Reading Resources production:

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

We also thank:
National Endowment for the Arts
H.W. Wilson Foundation
Hauser & Wirth
Florence Derieux
Abby Merrick, Roni Horn Studio Manager
A.R.T. Board of Directors
and most specially, Roni Horn.

Design by Document Services and Other Means.

Copyright © Art Resources Transfer, Inc 2019.

All images are protected under copyright by the original rights holders.

A.R.T. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Join our mailing list to get updates on news, activities, and educational resources.

Follow: Instagram

Support A.rt R.esources T.ransfer

I will give a donation of

You will be redirected off-site to complete your donation.

I want to to the Library Program

A.rt R.esources T.ransfer
526 W 26th Street, #614
New York, NY 10001
[email protected]