It sounds quite strange today to hear Channa Horwitz had to ask her husband always for permission if she wanted to work on her drawings. Such behaviors we associate today immediately with Saudi Arabia or the Islamic State, but Channa Horwitz lived in Los Angeles, USA, in the 60s.

Berlin Kicks Kunstwerke Channa Horwitz

That’s about half a century ago, and at that time some quite strange, traditional rules reigned in which female artists were not taken seriously, even in the US. Taking this into account it amazes already slightly less that this conceptually motivated woman on her steady way to abstraction gained no reputation neither in galleries or museums, not in the US neither in other countries.

But yesterday Kunstwerke opened the very first solo exhibition of this Californian artist Channa Horwitz: COUNTING IN EIGHT, MOVING BY COLOR

Who is mostly into black and white, abstraction and serial art stands will feel very comfortable there immediately. Based on the US graph paper that has only 8 × 8 boxes in contrast to the usual system based on 10, Channa Horwitz developed a very unique, fully transparent system of notation, which comes entirely logical and comprehensible for everyone.

There are diagrams that capture both time and movement and remind us of modern scores. Parallels to musical notation systems come to mind, except that surprises are completely excluded here. There is nothing that can break out of this system. Chaos as in mathematics do not occur in Channa Horwitz system. Chance or improvisation, variation, as in musical notations ever present, are totally excluded with her.

In many works, small construction drawings are implemented, which already contain the final and complete work. Simple rules, always based on the number 8 because of the mentioned graph paper, bringing the observer into an ordered tranquility. No distraction is possible, no chipping, perching, only the stoic devotion tot he order continues to captivate. And this is very difficult to stand, especially for us information and distraction junkies of today. Because Channa Horwitz doesn´t participate in our exuberant abundance of information, she simply dissects everything with her thoughtful and orderly notations.

Berlin Kicks Kunstwerke Channa Horwitz

She herself mentions:1
“With the help of deductive logic, I have developed a visual philosophy. Because I felt the need to control time and compose as I had previously controlled and composed two-dimensional drawings and paintings. As a basis for the visual description of time I chose a chart. The diagram I arranged to values: One inch is a pulse in time. Using this diagram I created compositions which vusually represented rhythm. ”

To control time is an overwhelming task, and what is expressed here is nothing less than a guide to interweaving different genres. Channa Horwitz drawings and paintings lead to performance and concert. Her compositions provide concrete guidance to musical and choreographic performances. So she created a clear vision which today, where seemingly everything goes and nothing is binding, has startling relevance and actuality.

1 Wikipedia

Until May 25 at Kunstwerke
Auguststrasse 69
10117 Berlin


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Channa Horwitz