Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Channa Horwitz | Statement by the Artist

The statement and the photographs were first published in Sun and Moon : A Journal of Literature and Art in 1976.


Channa Horwitz

Statement by the Artist


I have created a visual philosophy by working with deductive logic. I had a need to control and compose time as I had controlled and composed two dimensional drawings and paintings. To do this, I chose a graph as the basis for the visual description of time. I gave the graph a value: one inch became one beat or pulse in time. Using this graph, I made compositions that depicted rhythm visually.

         To compose the visual rhythms, I chose to use eight units. I gave each of the eight units a number, a count equal to its number, and a color. Number one had a duration of one count and was green, number two had a duration of two counts and was blue, etc., on to eight which had a duration of eight counts, and was colored yellow green. I then named these eight units “energies”. With eight energies, each having a duration equal to its number, I made compositions using the same logic. Whatever motion appears in time on the graph is based on the same linear logic. I chose to use a circular sequence for the basis of my logical system for motion. Visually, I accomplished this by having my rhythm follow a count of 2-3-4-5-6-7-8-1-2... or 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, etc. I then thought of these choices or limitations as rules for a game. By limiting my choices to the least number, and questioning each game, I created a separate world of visual rhythm that grew in strength. The more I questioned, the further I was brought in my search for meaning, artistic truth, and for a meaning of freedom.           


        I experience freedom through the limitations and structure I place on my work. It would appear that limitation and structure are the opposite of freedom. I have found them to be synonymous with freedom, and the basis of freedom.        

         As I see the world, it appears to have grown and evolved through a series of chances. My life and how it evolves appears to be determined by chance; but in reality, it is a structure directed and determined by my desires, both conscious and unconscious. The theory behind my work is that if structure plays out long enough, it will appear to be chance. It won’t be chance, it will only appear to be chance. My life flows as all things in the universe flow, in a cyclical or circular manner. It is as in Lobachevskian geometry, the continuum meets itself in space. The beginning and ending are only one step away from each other. There is no beginning and ending... in the universe. To live for all time, is to live now. My life's duration is all time. I create and control my life out of my desires.

         As controller-creator of my life work, I create compositions that are based on the cycle-circle of a never ending count. Earlier works showed this count or time horizontally, one inch for each beat. To achieve my compositions, I used motion in the form of eight energies (1/8 inch squares) which moved in a circularly sequential, numbered, logical manner. I created visual compositions by playing different number games. After creating a large body of compositions using one inch of time and eight squares depicting motion, I became curious about the possibilities of expanding the one inch of time in a vertical direction, and thereby creating space for the energies to grow. This brought about the expanded energy from eight 1/8 inch squares to eight one inch squares. Each energy grew by 1/8 inch until it became one inch. I then decided to allow the energies to expand even farther in space. To do this I expanded the composition to four levels in space. I then had four levels in space vertically and eight energies in time horizontally with which I could compose.

         After completing this body of work (some pieces were up to sixteen feet), I questioned it. Having a desire to become more complex in my next compositions, I realized that the complexity of the work required miniaturization. I proceeded to reduce the work down to its essence, and to add four more levels. Each energy appeared one per inch horizontally and each level of space appeared one per inch vertically.

          After completing the first drawing in the series, I decided that the completed drawing was the front slice of a volume and that I would slice into this volume eight times front to back, eight times top to bottom, and eight times left to middle. Each drawing would be one step away from the previous drawing; the last drawing one step from the first.

          In doing the next series of drawings called Variations and Inversions on a Rhythm, I started with numbers logically arrived at through eight previously completed drawings. In the first drawing of the set I carried those previously determined numbers forward onto one drawing. On each subsequent drawing I varied all segments of the first drawing by one count. By varying the work in this way, I arrived at the first set of 64 drawings. The set exists because of the possibilities of variations with the numbers.

        The structure of the rhythm within the drawings is the result of a split. The split being that of a primary and secondary motion.

        The primary rhythm is arrived at through the use of the logical number sequence.

       The secondary rhythm is arrived at through the use of an inversion, where a different line on each successive drawing is inverted one space.

     In the first series of drawings this inversion shifts one space back on a different line on each successive drawing, resulting in 64 drawings.

      In the second series of drawings the inversion of one space back is retained on each line on each drawing and one additional inversion is added in each successive drawing, resulting in 64 drawings.

        In the third series of drawings the inversion manifests itself in a reversed direction of one space on each successive line of each successive drawing resulting in 112 drawings.

      The investigation of my original concept has brought me into unknown territory. With each question I search for a visual answer. In this way I have strengthened my original concept and have travelled further into the unknown.


Channa Horwitz

Hidden Hills, California

January, 1976

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