During a period when governments urge us to “stay home,“ I chose this work because in a sense it is about confinement. As the text, which is part of the work, explains, the image is of a night sky in Colorado taken from the site of Camp Amache in Granada, Colorado. The camp was the smallest of ten internment camps for Americans of Japanese ancestry established in the USA in 1942. It held around 7,000 prisoners. By visiting the camp, Horvitz, visits a past scene of family trauma as his maternal grandparents spent three years there. The picture doesn’t depict the camp (where, at present, only one building remains) or the Colorado landscape. But it rather looks up at the universe, which is only visible at night, from a place of former imprisonment, thus making a stark contrast between what is infinite and expansive and the memory of a forced confinement. The work is a deeply personal commemoration and act of witnessing. Horvitz says of the work, “I imagined my grandmother, Kiyoko, as a teenager looking at the stars from this very same spot some 75 years before. Her view, literally contained and bound by barbed wire, imprisoned by her present, by the fear and hysteria and racism of her times. But I also imagined the wonder evoked in looking up into the sky, into the infinity of night, as your vision extends out into the timelessness of space. This view, from this place, I wanted to put into the public.”
David Horvitz (born 1974) is an American artist working in Los Angeles who uses art books, photography, performance art, glass, and mail art as mediums for his work. Horvitz is a graduate from Bard College. He was artist in residence at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, New York. In 2015 he was named a United States Artists fellow. Horvitz has had solo exhibitions at Fotomuseum Winterthur, and tongewölbe T25, Ingolstadt; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; New Museum, New York; Jan Mot, Brussels, Dawid Radziszewski Gallery, Warsaw; Peter Amby, Copenhagen; Art Basel, 2013; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; ChertLüdde, Berlin. Group exhibitions include: MoMA, New York; Bielefelder Kunstverein, Kunstverein Nürnberg; Murray Guy, New York; Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen; Crac Alsace, Altkirsch; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn.
Works from the Collection considers one work in the Belkin’s permanent collection that particularly inspires us; at this moment in May 2020, we are looking at these works through the lens of the current crises around us. This round of Staff Picks is brought to you by Scott Watson, the Belkin’s Director and Curator since 1989 when it was still the UBC Fine Arts Gallery in the basement of the former Main Library (now the Barber Learning Centre). He shares his time between Vancouver, Berlin and Hornby Island. To see more of the Belkin’s collection, visit https://belkin.pastperfectonline.com/.