Amanda Horowitz

My work exists between written language and live address, sculpture and getting dressed, personal soliloquy and satirical declamations. My projects, which are exhibited through video, theater, and sculpture, disrupt assumed narratives of erotics and violence. I work with subjects, such as Monica Lewinsky, the Welfare Queen, 9/11, and women targeted by revenge porn, drawing them into a linguistic game of play and reexamination. I often begin with the creation of a text, which is performed by myself in videos and readings, and by ensembles of actors in collaborative theater projects. The sculptures I create get folded into performance, posing both as props and as sculptural objects with micro-narratives of their own. I show these works in traditional gallery settings, but also create my own context for them site specifically, virtually, and within theatrical sets.

 

In all my works, the erotic is never separate from the political. The stories are often about being a girl, and what it means to come of age, sexually and politically, in a world premised on the feminized body being an object of predation. For example, my video and performance work, Revenge Poem [2015, image #7, video #18], unfolds as a three-act video, in which a female artist, played by myself, and a digital avatar of a male-cyber-rapist, exchange lyrical monologues. Throughout the thirteen-minute ballad, I reconcile with the effects of revenge porn on both the female and male body. In eschewing victimization and inciting empathy, the work at times is profane or perverse. I am influenced by other female writers and artists such as Kathy Acker, Mary Gaitskill, and Carolee Schneemann, who in the face of systems that have birthed such breaches of trust, find power in perversion, presenting narratives of erotic transcendence.

 

Through sculpture I explore the points in which solitude and performativity, meet, interrupt, and influence one another. The pleasure and discovery I experience while getting dressed informs the ways in which I work with materials and create objects. My marks, mistakes, and impulsivities are held in and on the forms, creating works that appear disfigured and fetid, tender and cared for. In my project, Inside His Hat is a Host [2016, images #1-2], I built a giant (10ft x7ft), hollow cowboy hat that could be entered and performed in. I set out to make the sculpture as a way to explore how an object could write, or encourage material to be produced, literally becoming a head space or a way of thinking. It felt particularly evocative to transform the cowboy hat, an American icon of masculinity, into an internal, creative space. In my sculpture, as well as video and writing, I use fragmentation and enigma as tools to create meaning outside of a dominant narrative.

 

In my collaboration with Bully Fae Collins, under the moniker, Medium Judith, we write and direct theater projects. Our plays source the tone of language heard in manifestos, online rants, and popular media. They move from recognizable forms such as the sitcom and the interrogation room, into textual and performative eruptions. Our most recent project, The Plumbing Tree [2018, image #17, video #19], explores self-contained realities and viral declarations of self-hood. The characters we create and put on stage feel like sculptural assemblages, indicative of American identity politics. They are hollowed out caricatures who orate a doctrine as if it were their costume.

 

The underbelly of desire, as it relates to the feminine body and shifting political rhetoric, is explored in all my written and performed work. This has led me into my most recent project, a pulpy feminist novel about Monica Lewinsky [Monica/Mallory, 2018, video #20]. This book collects the entire breadth of my practice, and explores the ways in which the chaos of female perdition can be shaped into a popular form, while maintaining its defiance.