Abbandonare il locale
Curated by Nicola Ricciardi
BiM Milano Bicocca, Milan
12 April – 30 June 2024

Opening on the occasion of the twenty-eighth edition of miart, the international modern and contemporary art fair organized by Fiera Milano, Abbandonare il locale is the first major solo exhibition in Italy dedicated to David Horvitz. It takes place inside an abandoned office at BiM – an ambitious urban regeneration project in Milan’s Bicocca district that is transforming an iconic building by Vittorio Gregotti into a cutting-edge work destination – and it’s curated by Nicola Ricciardi, artistic director of miart, who has selected together with Horvitz over 20 works covering almost 20 years of the artists’ career.

Born in Los Angeles, where he lives and works, Horvitz uses a disparity of media – from photography to performance, from artists’ books to sound, from gastronomy to mail art – to examine questions of distance between places, people, and time in order to test the possibilities of appropriating, undermining or even erasing these distances. His works have been exhibited across the world, from the New Museum in New York City to the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and today he’s present in some of the most prestigious collections, from LACMA in Los Angeles to the MoMA in New York City.

The Milan exhibition stems from the desire of giving a tangible form to the expression no time no space, chosen as the theme and title of the 2024 edition of miart to underline the fair’s aspiration to increasingly broaden its geographical and temporal boundaries. Matter of fact, Horvitz’s works try to complicate and subvert our standardized idea of time – as in the case of A clock whose seconds are synchronized with your heartbeat (2020), or Evidence of time travel (2014), for which the artist lived in Europe, regulating his life on the California time zone — and to defuse the concept of borders, opening portals towards new dimensions — as in “For Kiyoko” (2017), in which Horvitz photographs the stars that he imagined his grandmother looked at 75 years earlier from the Japanese internment camp in Colorado where she was forcibly relocated during the Second World War, or in the installation The Distance of a Day (2013), in which the artist exhibits two videos made simultaneously by him and his mother in California and the Maldives, one at sunrise and one at sunset on the same day.

Combining a site-specific approach with a performative attitude and mixing historical works with new productions and found objects, Abbandonare il locale also offers an unconventional take on the ethics and aesthetics of the workplace, filled with alternative imaginaries and possible ways out. Take the plastic bottles of “Imagined Clouds (Milan)” 2024, which can be mistaken for waste abandoned after a day of work, but in the artist’s intention are both a contemplation of water as a commodity in circulation and of geography, imagining the very material physical geographical sources of the liquid. Or “Mood disorder” (2012), a self-portrait based on stock photographs that depict depression and sadness that Horvitz uploaded on the Wikipedia page dedicated to mood disorders (and which, as it is free of copyright, has been reused for years by news sites, blogs and magazines, circulating outside of his control).

Abbandonare il locale is organized by BiM – Bicocca incontra Milano and it is made possible with the generous support of ChertLüdde, Berlin with special thanks to Variant3D. The exhibition lighting is designed by SPECIFIC – a multidisciplinary creative production studio founded by Patrick Tuttofuoco, Nic Bello, Alessandra Pallotta, Andrea Sala, and Stefano D’Amelio – that adapted original office elements. 

Photos by Andrea Rossetti