Anaïs Horn, Je suis malheureuse et heureuse, Meta books (2020)
The photobook “Je suis malheureuse et heureuse” presents Austrian-born, Paris-based artist Anaïs Horn’s latest work on French author Anaïs Nin’s early diaries, the “Journald’enfance”, written at the age of 16 in 1919–1920. In its first pages, Nin sets the tone, describing her discovery about her coming of age, her life between 11 and 18: “Je suis malheureuse et heureuse”. That is the core sentence and title of Horn’s project, consisting of intimate portraits of girls between 11–18, shot at her studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Exactly 100 years after Nin’s writings, Horn explores the magic and the problems of being a female teenager, the rites of passage, the timeless and the time-specific topics of female coming of age. Besides the portraits, the book will include stills from the video “La Boum”, which Horn developed with a 15-year-old dancer, original texts and ma nu-scripts from Anaïs Nin’s journals, diary fragments from American poet and researcher Jackie Wang, and texts by Maren Lübbke-Tidow (DE) and Verena Walzl (AT). The book is designed by Fondazione (AT). “Openness and reticence, strength and vulnerability, self-confidence, and uncertainty about the world are all expressions of the self, which in pictures of youth are often close at hand. Perhaps they are saying, through Anaïs Horn, so aptly: Je suis malheureuse et heureuse—and the whole ambivalence of the being-in-the-world becomes tangible.” / Maren Lübbke-Tidow
BIO | Anaïs Horn, born in Graz, Austria, lives and works in Paris and Vienna. In her artistic practice she often interweaves literature/text and photography/video/drawing, exploring moments of intimacy with a special interest in topics such as liminality and coming-of-age. She observes people and their spaces, gently crossing borders, opening up the private and making intimacy a sensual experience. In the process, she investigates time, memories, transience, the body and its traces, the cautious intrusion of privacy, and the aesthetics of reality and fugacity. Her images take shape on different surfaces, haptics and into objects – often assembling into spatial installations, that leave the viewers to resonate freely and to subjectively weave loose threads.
The artist‘s book is an important medium for her work: her photo book Fading was published by DCV, Berlin, in 2021. In 2020 her artist’s books Je suis malheureuse et heureuse and How do you feel about “Lou”? (in collaboration with Eilert Asmervik) were published by META/BOOKS, Amsterdam. With a background in literature and linguistics and a degree in communication design, she graduated from Friedl Kubelka School for Fine Art Photography in 2014. She has been awarded several scholarships and residencies, e.g. at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2017–2018 and 2021), Plovdiv, Cultural Capital of Europe 2019, the ISCP New York (2020, 2022) and AiR Trieste (2021).