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Channa Horwitz
Poem/Opera, The Divided Person

May 17, 2012
6:30 – 7:30 PM
14th Street Passage, on the High Line at West 14th Street

For nearly 50 years, artist Channa Horwitz has worked primarily with drawings, creating a large body of works on paper called Sonakinatography (1968 – 2004). The works reinterpret the traditional minimalist grid with a sensual twist, featuring meticulous hand drawings of complex geometric patterns with alternating colors and symbols on graph-ruled Mylar. Her drawings combine an apparent rigidity and structural logic with an element of chance suggested by imperfections, mistakes, and corrections that the artist leaves visible on the paper. Although visually close to Op Art, Horwitz’s work is much closer to Conceptual Art and works by colleagues Sol Lewitt or Mel Bochner.

Throughout the years, Horwitz has used her drawings to create her own unique language, employing rules and variables based on the numeric chain from 0 to 8 and alternating colorful lines and spaces in an attempt to depict rhythm and motion. Reading like elegant music scores, the drawings function as open scripts for possible music or dance interpretations. Horwitz often invited other artists to interpret her scores in their own performances, underlining once more how the logic of her composition sets one free.

For the High Line, Horwitz restaged Poem/Opera, The Divided Person, a work that was originally performed in Bologna, Italy in 1978. Based on Sonakinatography Composition III, the performance features eight actors, each holding a 25-foot-long script that contains words describing the oppositional qualities of a person: inner/outer, young/old, happy/sad, dreamer/realist. Following the reckless beat of a metronome, all of the actors read his or her script at the same time, creating an ordered cacophony that highlights the infinite combinations between order and chance and between the written word and movement in time.

Photos by Liz Ligon.

Channa Horwitz

Channa Horwitz (b. 1932, California – d. 2013 California). Recent solo exhibitions include François Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles (2013); Kunsthalle Dresden, Dresden (2012); and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2012). Her work was featured posthumously at the 55th Venice Biennale, Venice (2013). Other notable art fair appearances include the Taipei Biennial, Taipei (2012); Los Angeles Biennial, Los Angeles (2012); and Frieze Art Fair, London (2011). Important recent group exhibitions include Anton Voyls Fortgang/ A Void, Guy de Cointet/ Channa Horowitz/ Henri Chopin at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf (2013); “Moments: A history of performance in 10 acts,” at Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany (2012); and “Pacific Standard Time” in Los Angeles (2012).


This High Line Art Performance is presented by Friends of the High Line and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. High Line Art is made possible by Donald R. Mullen, Jr., additional support from Vital Projects Fund, Inc. This program is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State's 62 counties.

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