Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer was born in 1950 in Gallipollis (USA). She lives and works in New-York.

InquiryJenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer has been using text and language since 1977. Following the work entitled Truism, the artist began Inflammatory Essays in 1979. The tone of the texts in this series is deliberately aggressive and provocative, influenced by Holzer's reading of political, artistic, religious, utopian and other manifestos. Like any pronunciamiento, the voice of each Inflammatory Essays exhorts and espouses a strong and particular ideology, and presents a range of opinions, from the extreme right to the extreme left.

Some of the Inflammatory Essays borrow from the characteristic style of great federative or separatist speeches and narratives, and set up a dialectic of common sense taken to extremes. By concealing the authorship of the essays, Holzer allows the viewer to evaluate ideologies without taking into account the personalities who propagate them. Holzer thus invites the reader to reflect on the urgent need for social change, the possibility of manipulating the public and the conditions that accompany revolution.

The artist is the heiress of minimal art and conceptual art, influenced by the discoveries of feminist writing, liberated from patriarchal ideology. She belongs to a generation of artists who are questioning both the space of galleries and museums and the role of the subjective, individualistic artist. She was a member of the Colab group in the 1970s, and throughout her career has often favoured collaborative work.

Her first solo exhibition, in 1978 at P.S.1, entitled Jenny Holzer Painted Room, presented her sometimes harsh and austere texts, as well as her own rhetoric, in public spaces and international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Bilbao, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Louvre in Abu Dhabi. Writing is an integral part of his work. Since the 1970s, the artist has also used street posters and light projections of his texts in the urban landscape and on architecture.


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