Daniel Horowitz / “Safari” / Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

In this body of twenty works on paper commissioned by the Musée de la Chasse et de Nature in Paris, Daniel Horowitz dives into the exercise of pseudo-historical documentation. Retelling a fictive safari expedition, he subverts original eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth century artifacts to explore the art of hunting, as a metaphor for man’s quest of self.

The objective is to successfully manipulate the image by harnessing the given style and technique of the antique engravings and watercolors, and confuse the viewer as to what is authentic and what is intervention. By seamlessly integrating the counterfeit historical work back into the permanent collection of the Museum among many other genuine artifacts from the past, the exhibition confuses what is “museological objectivation” and “ontological engineering” to cite the philosopher, Vincent Normand. Questioning the ontological role of the museum, the exhibition, and the historical artifact all together is at the heart of this approach.

Daniel Horowitz’s practice is one of painting, drawing, collage and installation. Through combin- ing realism and surrealist abstraction, he produces works worthy of modern curiosity cabinets. Created following unnatural associations that turn logic or scale upside down, his chimaera express with a creaking humor the fear of our contemporary world, in search of its identity. (…) By re-appropriating well behaved romantic engravings, Daniel Horowitz touches on this taste for the uncanny which inspired certain vocations amongst Safari candidates. His grafted creatures, with disproportionately long necks — coherent even though “unseen” ever before – give life to our collective symbolic lexicon.

Claude d’Anthenaise, Director Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

Romantic irony is defined by philosopher Friedrich Schlegel as early as the end of the 18th cen- tury, and designates the ensemble of processes of reversal used by an artist to exceed/surpass his situation in a finite world. With it, the artist tries to express the unspeakable, emphasizing the artificial dimension of his work as to suppress any illusion of realism. Romantic irony therefore becomes a tool for art to direct itself, to be seen as a construction of the mind, incapable to objectively represent the world. By placing art in a permanent waxing and waning between self- creation and self-destruction, it proceeds from a self-reflective discourse, about its own limita- tions, and those of human condition. Romantic irony finds expression in a profound questioning of the world, and of its perception – such as in Paul Klee’s work, or Daniel Horowitz’s.

Comte Philippe de Boucaud, independent curator