Jenny HolzerOne day at the Whitney Museum, stunning silent lecture.
The Whitney houses one of the world's foremost collections of contemporary American art and programs provocative special exhibitions by the most promising and influential American artists of the 20th and 21st century.
The special exhibition on view now is Jenny Holzer's project: "Protect, Protect".
Jenny Holzer is wellknown for her pioneering approach to language as a carrier of content and her use of nontraditional media and public settings as vehicles for that content. Her works have been shown in exhibitions and projects worldwide, she completed her undergraduate work at Ohio University. In 1975, she entered the master of fine arts program at the Rhode Island School of Design. She moved to New York City in 1977 to participate in the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program, and began her first series of public art texts.
Her work is all about language. She creates large scale electronic sculptures infused with beauty, sensitivity and power. Media employed in Holzer's practice vary: writing is programmed into electronic signs, but it can also be printed on posters and t-shirts, carved in sandstone benches, cast as bronze plaques, or etched on silver. Further, her statements have appeared on billboards, movie marquees, in news magazines, and on websites, as well as being projected onto facades, (Times square), walls (Guggenheim Bilbao or New York), water and mountain sides by laser or with xenon projections.
Whatever her media, style, rhythm, scenography, and atmosphere engage the viewer and catch the eye as much as the brain. Being a former typesetter, she devotes an extreme attention to shape, color choice, font, pace of the scroll and movement of the text. It is always about rhythm and capacity to hypnotize the viewer. To keep him centered on the necessary content. The circular texts (double-sided electronic LED signs) make it sometimes difficult to read them at once and represent the variety of points of view expressed…
This could be seen as an analogy to the new access to knowledge and infinite available data allowed by Internet. All these installations also trap us like a web, a web of lies or evidences…
Most of the texts selected for this exhibition have been written between 1977 and 2001 but an other part of the installation shows recent declassified pages from US Government as well as plans for Iraq war. They present an unexpected journey in the secret language of the army, its rules and beliefs, a plunge in a closed and secret world, with its pure military vision of the world. A ice-cold reality.
She also presents an installation of human bones, engraved as allusions to women victim of civil war in Bosnia, and to rape being used as a war weapon. She delivers wild texts "with you inside me, here comes the knowledge of my death", "she has no taste left to her, this makes it easier for me"…
In getting into her world, we are not solely hypnotized by her words, but further by her vision of the world, her content. Her works embody the public and private, the universal and particular. After her former "Truisms" (1977-79), "Inflammatory essays" (1979-82), War (1992), and Lustmord (1993-95), here again she refers to the political tradition of Goya's vision on war and desasters… In a very different style, Chapman brothers paid a tribute to (or some say desacred …) the great Spanish painter, printmaker and visionary and to his "Disasters of War"– at the Turner Prize six years ago.
Again we can see how Goya keeps fascinating contemporary artists and thus brings us back to the eternal disasters caused by human beings for ages…
New York, may 2009
Vidéo Whitney Museum of Art about the exhibition : http://whitney.org/www/holzer/index.jsp and art21 NY.
"Protect, Protect" by Jenny Holzer, until may 31
Whitney Museum of Art, 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, New York, NY 10021
whitney.org - www.jennyholzer.com
for more enter "Chapman" or "Turner Prize" in search
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