Jonathan Horowitz, New York
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“LGBTI Walk” proposes a walk that visitors to the waterfront can take to think about the place of LGBTI people in German history, past, present and future. In the sculpture, a symbol of a double cross, representing the crucifixion of two people together, is cut through a photo of the tree lined walkway which runs along the river. The photo is set into a granite slab which the double cross cut out goes through as well, allowing light to shine through the sculpture. The title “LGBTI Walk” and a QR code are etched into the stone beneath the photo. The QR code will link to a page detailing the experience of LGBTI people throughout German 20th - 21st century history, with a focus on Düsseldorf.
The work conveys a suggestion to think of the pairs of trees along the walkway as like double crosses, representing the persecution of LGBTI people. The mood of the walk will change with the seasons. In winter and fall, the walk will be more somber. In spring and summer, the walk will perhaps engender a feeling of hope.
Inspiration for the work is taken from the tradition of planting trees in Israel to memorialize victims of the Holocaust and the deceased more generally. Another reference is Marc Chagall’s series of crucifix paintings made during World War II. In Chagall’s work, the crucifix is used to symbolize the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany.
In thinking about my proposal, I wanted to present an idea that would both be meaningful in relation to the experience of LGBTI people during the time of the Holocaust and to the ongoing struggles of LGBTI people today. I see the double cross as a very open symbol, which LGBTI individuals and others as well can bring their personal stories to.
Also, I wanted to try to make something that would have a sense of monumentality. A monumentally scaled sculpture did not seem appropriate to me for a location where so much recreation and leisure activity take place, and something too discreet did not seem appropriate for the seriousness of subject matter at hand. So, while the object that I am proposing is modest in scale, the activity which it proposes, a contemplative walk between the pairs of trees, can occupy a vast amount of space and time.