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Andreas Horlitz

Text DNA


”The force acting jointly and creating potency, the EQUILIBRIUM, is the light, which influences the work of the artist from the very beginning due to its physical phenomenon and quality of perception.”

In his oeuvre the German artist Andreas Horlitz (born 1955) deals extensively with various photo-technical processes. Initially bound to the tradition of the Otto Steinert School, Horlitz became known as author photographer via reports with biographic contributions, which were produced as series. At the beginning of the 1980s the artist focused on word-image interrelations and created his own style of photo-technical collage using copy fittings. Doing so he overlays details of reproduced images, which for the most part are greatly reduced, with pictograms (”Reconnaissance“, 1995).

Starting in the mid 1980s Horlitz began focusing his attention on the medium of light boxes, mostly setting one central motive on an illuminated monochrome background (Lexicon, 1996). Especially in recent years he further broadened his work spectrum by using mirror- and various light works as well as In Situ projects („Palimpsest“, 2002). Topic-wise Horlitz covers a spectrum ranging from reports with biographic contributions to art historic references to insights from the world of engineering and natural sciences. He further has a particular interest in different forms of text and language.

Horlitz‘s work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums in Europe since the 1970s, as for example the ”Museum Folkwang, Essen”, Germany (1980), ”Sprengel Museum, Hannover”, Germany (1996), ”Bilder die noch fehlten” (Images that were still missing), ”Deutsches Hygiene Museum, Dresden”, Germany (2000), ”Von Körpern und anderen Dingen” (Of bodies and other things), ”Städtische Galerie Prag”, Czech Republic, ”Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin”, Germany und Multimedia Complex of Visual Arts, Moscow, Russia (2003/2004), ”Mein Gen das hat fünf Ecken” (My genome has five edges) , ”ZKM Karlsruhe”. Germany (2007).

The light installation ”Text DNA” from 1997 with its length of almost 46 meters and height of 20 cm dominates the length of a hallway of the Uniplan building in Kerpen, Germany.  Embedded into the wall exactly at the spectator‘s eye level it is only interrupted by door apertures and the foyer. On the surface a raster system becomes visible consisting of four strings of characters, which lay on top of each other and stand out from the greenish-matt neon light of the background due to their chromatic surface.

Horlitz uses a complex photo-technical process to translate scientifically coded speech material like DNA sequences into the artistic form of light installations. DNA means deoxyribonucleic acid and contains the genetic information of every organism. The respective genetic material consists of an infinite number of molecules, which in turn are made out of four elements (bases). These bases can be graphically portrayed and translated into a system of characters. In the case of ”Text DNA” the strings of characters are the molecular sequences of brewer‘s yeast (sprout), pine tree (plant), wasp (animal), and a human.

Within his work, Horlitz connects both the worlds of art and natural science. Doing so, he not only makes the controversial topic of genetic engineering a topic of discussion, but rather opens up different worlds of association and experience. By doing so the spectator is also confronted with him-/herself in the mirrored sequences and in the reflection of the own self with his/her own existence and the own genesis and growth.

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