Rebecca Horn was born in Michelstadt, Germany, March 24, 1944, a year before the end of World War II. From 1964-1970, she studied in Hamburg, Germany, at the Hochschule fr Bildende Knste. Horn is a sculptor, film-maker, performance and installation artist. Due to a lung illness and subsequent hospitalization in 1968 resulting from her poisoning by materials she was using for sculpture -- possibly from inhaling the fumes of fiber glass -- she turned to soft sculpture that suggested bandages and prostheses.
Until 1871, Horn lived in Hamburg, Germany, then briefly in London, England, before moving to West Berlin in 1973. She teaches at the Akademie der Kunst in Berlin.
Her first public performance took place in 1971 in Kassel, Germany at the Documenta exhibition. She also began using feathers in her work at this time, as well as creating mechanical sculptures. Horn's first one-person show was held in 1973 in West Berlin at the Galerie Ren Block. In 1986, she again exhibited in Documenta, and received the Arnold Bode Preis. In 1992, Horn received the Trgerin des Kaiserrings Goslar (the first woman to do so), and was awarded the Medienkunstpreis Karlsruhe for achievements in technology and art.
In 1973, she created her first film, Berlin Exercises: Dreaming Under Water. Two years later, she was awarded the Deutscher Kritiker Preis for the film. In 1978, Horn made Der Eintnzer, her first feature-length film. In 1990, Horn's Buster's Bedroom, a full-length, feature film, starred well-known Hollywood actor Donald Sutherland.
In the 1980s, Horn was working on both site-specific installations and making films. In 1986, she created an installation in a Viennese insane asylum with Jannis Kounellis.
In 1993, Horn was given a mid-career retrospective exhibition by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, which traveled to the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands; Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria; Tate Gallery and Serpentine Gallery, London, England; and Muse de Grenoble, France.
Rebecca Horn's metaphysical, exploratory spirit was fostered as a young girl by her readings of Johann Valentin Andreae's Die Chymische Hochzeit des Christian Rosenkreutz and Raymond Roussel's Locus Solus, which developed her interest in alchemy, Surrealist machines, and the absurd. During her art studies, she was attracted to the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini and Luis Buuel, and existentialist authors Jean Genet and Franz Kafka.