Born and raised in Southwest Florida, Sasha Wortzel (she/they) is an artist and filmmaker currently working in Miami, Florida (Seminole and Miccosukee land) . Blending the archival and the imaginary, Wortzel’s films, installations, and performances investigate the ways the past and power haunt and inextricably shape contemporary American life. Wortzel’s films have screened at the Museum of Modern Art’s DocFortnight, True/False Film Festival, DOC NYC, BAMcinématek, Blackstar, and Berlinale. Their work has been exhibited at the New Museum, Brooklyn Museum, The Kitchen, Krannert Art Museum, Champaign; and SALTS Birsfelden. Wortzel has been supported by the Sundance Institute, Art Matters, Queer/Art/Mentorship, a 2018 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, and a Points North Fellowship.
Wortzel has participated in residencies including the LMCC Workspace Program, Abrons Arts Center, Watermill Center, New York; AIRIE (Artists in Residence in the Everglades) and Oolite Arts; Miami Beach. Wortzel’s film This is an Address (2020) is distributed by Field of Vision. Happy Birthday Marsha! (2018; co-director Tourmaline) won special mention at Outfest and is distributed by Frameline. Their work is in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum and Leslie Lohman Museum of Art. She has been featured in publications including The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, and New York Magazine. Wortzel is currently in production on a feature documentary about the Florida Everglades.
In their solo exhibition DREAMS OF UNKNOWN ISLANDS, Wortzel references cycles of life be they natural, influenced, extracted or at times accelerated by human interference. Voices, sunsets, snake skins, shells and other layered textures are stand-ins for shorelines, boundaries and horizons that are remixed or reimagined using video, sound, and sculpture. This work is the result of long term research, observation and recording by Wortzel of the Southern Florida Coast. More recently this work has run alongside navigating the day to day news of collective loss, ecological collapse and political uprisings. The artist uses the Mourner’s Kaddish, a 13th century Aramaic prayer as a primary source, inviting us to come together in a collective process that moves our grief towards healing. As voices and sea levels rise, Wortzel marks and distorts time all the while calling out for some semblance of peace, care for the land and each other and eventual liberation.