Daniel Horowitz: Civilization and its Discontents
Solo booth at SPRING/BREAK Art Show
curated by Ella Marder
Feb 28 - March 6, 2017
“A given culture is only as strong as its power to convince its least dedicated member that its fictions are truths.” Edward J. Dudley
In this site-specific installation for SPRING/BREAK, Daniel Horowitz explores the tension between the individual and civilization with traditional culture. The booth is presented as a surrogate study of psychic explorers such as Freud, Jung and Lacan. The Shaman in traditional society was the interlocutor between the physical and spiritual worlds. Psychoanalysis has since replaced shamanism, as the wildness of the natural world has been subjugated by conquest and science. However the component archetypes of the noble savage are still very much alive in the interior of our mind. The diverse body of work includes oil paintings on linen stitched with textiles, paintings on antique engravings and silver nitrate on glass.
Through experiments in transmutation, the alchemists struggled to understand the elements that shape our existence, and therefore ourselves. Silvering of glass, is a process of illumination of identity. As described in Lacan’s mirror stage, turning the individual into an object that can be perceived from outside one’s self. The mirror has played a formative role in shaping our sense of personal identity. However, identity is something that is volatile, forever changing, and so the fluid and deteriorated appearance of the viewer, reflects a more authentic self.
“The paradox of civilization: it is a tool we have created to protect ourselves from unhappiness, and yet it is our largest source of unhappiness.” - Sigmund Freud