Copying as a ritual act

Toine Horvers

Pallas Projects is pleased to invite Toine Horvers to present the outcomes of his residency at Red Stables in the form of performance & installation. Horvers’ art practice deals with time and space, for many years his medium consisting of working directly with the written word and spoken language. The material for his work consists of textual descriptions of situations and processes taken from everyday life.

Horvers transmits this material into another reality in the form of voice performances, hand-written drawings, hand-written books, sound installations and interactive electronic text displays. On the one hand his work process allows him to perform ‘a ritual dance’ around the subject*. This comes from an undefined desire to engage, so as to get as close as possible. On the other hand he creates an enormous distance from this source by his, still subjective, transfer into the very different context of the art gallery.

His project for Pallas Projects is based on the idea of copying aloud fragments of speech from people that pass him by, in the crowds in the centre of the city. He is fascinated by the ‘fragments’ of voices with their characteristic sounds within predominantly English language. Part of this fascination is probably that he can concentrate on the sounds for the reason that he does not understand most of what is said. In this case copying the fragments is a way of getting closer to the subject. While walking and listening Horvers could sometimes understand parts of a sentence or just some words, the rest of it was only sounds of which he had to make up words, or just create new words from what he heard.

When practising these sentences, for most of the time they did not have any meaning for him. Other times he could pick up a word or an expression just by listening to his own pronunciation. This has happened to him previously while reading Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake aloud. Besides all the other things that this book is about, Horvers has always thought that Joyce’s book was a ritual dance around the concept of language in both a written and spoken way.
Toine Horvers was born in Loon op Zand in the Netherlands in 1947. He has performed and exhibited widely internationally and throughout the Netherlands, including the Biennal of Havana, Squid Project, Helsinki, Galeria ON Poznan, Poland, Kentler International Drawing Gallery Brooklyn and Pheobus Gallery Rotterdam.

He has a long relationship with Ireland that has seen him be the guest of the residency programme at Áras Éanna, Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, and he has featured at Tulca Galway, performed in NCAD and most recently in Broadcast Gallery, DIT, Dublin.

These events and exhibition follow a working relationship that Pallas has had with Horvers and the SUB:URBAN Rotterdam, of which he is the programming director, since 2009.


Performances will take place at 8pm on the night of the preview, and on Friday 15th of April at 6pm. Each performance will be one hour long.

Curators note: Each exhibition at Pallas Projects will be forwarded by an artwork element, or text, by or about the artist. In this instance we are presenting a number of the artists’ drawn pages. Reprinted with kind permission.