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Fritz Horstman
Kannagawa Voices



While working on a large building project several years ago the artist, Fritz Horstman was struck by the poetry in the unfinished state of the construction site. He was drawn specifically to the space between the plywood walls that were raised as formworks for the pouring of cement. That space could only exist for a few hours before the cement truck arrived, but in that moment it was a revolving abstraction of potential, delineation, growth, and destruction. Once filled it was gone: the plywood was stripped away, the earth was backfilled. To suspend that moment he began building models of formworks. Leaving them unfilled, they are perpetually unfinished. From models based directly on architecture, Horstman expanded to forms found in the landscape. Making a formwork that depicts constraint upon the landscape is not exactly a reversal of the formwork’s function, but it asks different questions than a formwork designed for a building would. Why would you make a cement creek? What is the relationship between a flowing creek and poured cement? Is this a barrier or just delineation? For River Woman ODETTA, in addition to several small sculptures in the Flat File, Horstman will install Formwork for the East River, which describes that river’s shape as it flows from Rikers Island to the tip of Manhattan. The 3 x 18 x 7 foot sculpture includes inlets for the Harlem River and Newtown Creek. One side is defined by the shape of the east side of Manhattan, the other by the western edges of Queens and Brooklyn. Roosevelt Island sits in the middle looking like a casket. Were this formwork poured with concrete, the resulting mass would be a wall, not a river. Acknowledging change, while attempting to hold the moment, the delineated spaces remain conspicuously empty, begging to be filled. During previous installations of several large outdoor Formwork sculptures similar in scale and material to Formwork for the East River at least one person approached and asked when we would pour. Those people had mentally filled the space. These are spaces into which one can pour their thoughts. Two videos will be included in River Woman. In Kannagawa Voices villagers in the small Japanese town of Onishi were asked to make the sounds of their local river with their voices. Ice Voices comes from the artist’s shipmates’ attempts to recreate with their voices the bizarre sounds of Arctic ice. Fritz Horstman works with the landscape and the perception of the perception of natural phenomena. He has recently exhibited his sculptures and installations in Brooklyn, Massachusetts, California, Japan, France, and Norway, and currently is featured in the 2016/17 deCordova Biennial in Lincoln, MA. He has curated exhibitions in New Haven, New York and Svalbard. Recent residencies include Shiro Oni in Onishi, Japan, and The Arctic Circle Residency. He received his MFA from MICA in 2011 and his BA in studio art from Kenyon College in 2001. He is artist residency and education coordinator at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Bethany, CT. Musically he is half of the duo Spacelover.


  • Movement & Style
  • Condition
  • Dimensions

    H 1 in. x W 2 in. x D .25 in.

    H 2.54 cm x W 5.08 cm x D 6.35 mm

  • Gallery location
    Brooklyn, NY
  • Reference number
  • More editions & sizes
    Edition of 25, Run time 1 min, 55 sec

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