Jenny Holzer, Men Don’t Protect You Anymore, wooden postcard from the Survival series, 1983–85
Exhibition Zentrum | 23.05.2008 - 15.06.2008

Jenny Holzer

Multiples and Artist’s Books
The installation and Conceptual artist Jenny Holzer is frequently called a poet, for the word dominates her art. Holzer’s short, concise, sometimes ironic, and in part bitter statements are applied to products such as pencils, coffee cups, T-shirts, golf balls, and baseball caps, but are also displayed in public spaces such as New York’s Time Square or on simple urban façades or telephone booths. In order to bring her art into circulation, she avails herself of the commercial strategies of the advertising industry while at the same time making us aware of the all-devouring existence of advertising. Her dissemination media in the meantime include multimedia installations, three-dimensional LED screens, Internet projections, and music videos shown on MTV.
Jenny Holzer, The Future Is Stupid and Protect Me From What I Want, baseball caps from the Survival series, 1983–85
Jenny Holzer, Absolute Submission Can Be A Form Of Freedom and You Are Guileless In Your Dreams, golf balls from the Truisms series, 1977–79

Jenny Holzer currently lives and works in Hosick Falls, New York. She has produced nine further groups of texts since those in her first series, Truisms, appeared on posters in the streets of New York in 1977. The one-liners and essays range from objective-sounding run-of-the-mill pearls of wisdom all the way to provocative and apparently intimate statements. In these texts Jenny Holzer addresses themes such as sex, war, death, birth, violence, love, power, truth, madness . . .

The exhibition will show a selection of artist’s books and multiples. The focus is on the series Truisms (1977–79), Inflammatory Essays (1979–82), Living (1980–82), Survival (1983–85), Laments (1987–89), and Lustmord (1993–94). Following the circa two hundred generally valid, provocative Truisms, the artist writes the Inflammatory Essays, blocks of exactly one hundred words and twenty lines which she prints in alphabetical order, first on small posters and then as a manuscript entitled The Black Book.

With the Living Series, Jenny Holzer distances herself from social critique and beginning in 1981 devotes herself to human relationships and the necessities of everyday life, such as eating, breathing, or sleeping. In the Survival Series, the artist adopts a more personal and urgent attitude. The reality of daily life, the dangers and the horrors are the focus of this work. Inspired by the birth of her child in 1989, she developed Laments, probably one of Holzer’s most personal and anxiety-filled series. In 1993 she produced her series Lustmord, which thematizes the events surrounding the war in Bosnia.

Jenny Holzer is considered one of the most important contemporary artists, at the latest since she designed the American pavilion for the 1990 Venice Biennale. Her LED-strip installation For Paula Modersohn-Becker has been on permanent display on Böttscherstrasse since 2005.

An exhibition by the Research Center for Artist’s Publications in cooperation with students from the University of Bremen.


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