Jenny Holzer ARTIST ROOMS display opens at the Tate Modern, London
ARTIST ROOMS: Jenny Holzer, the latest in the series of annual free displays, which is now open and set to run until summer 2019. It brings together key works from across Holzer’s four-decade career, including rarely seen works from the artist’s archives and installations exhibited in the UK for the first time, in Tate Modern’s dedicated ARTIST ROOMS gallery.
American artist Jenny Holzer (b.1950) is renowned for thought-provoking, text-based installations that incorporate diverse media and a pioneering use of electronic technologies. The artist draws on content from a wide range of sources, often incorporating incongruous viewpoints to examine the nature of communication and human interaction. Tate’s ARTIST ROOMS display will feature works from Holzer’s major texts, including Truisms, Living, Survival and Laments, in addition to writing by others. Installations include three large-scale paintings created in collaboration with the New York graffiti artist Lady Pink, one of which will be on display in the UK for the first time, and the largest selection of the artist’s drawings Diagrams 1976 ever exhibited together.
In Holzer’s early series Truisms 1977–79, the artist composed almost 300 aphorisms based on beliefs and existing maxims. The Truisms first appeared on posters wheat-pasted anonymously around lower Manhattan and have been printed on a range of ephemera including t-shirts, condoms and disposable cups, a selection of which will be shown together with posters and a 1980s Truisms LED artwork. Texts cast as plaques and carved in stone will be shown as a counterpoint to the ephemeral, frenetic electronic lights that echo the language of breaking news, commercialism and consumerism.
The display will also feature Holzer’s Redaction Paintings, begun in 2006, which reproduce declassified government documents relating to American and British interventions in the Middle East. The paintings will be shown alongside a sculptural installation of a surplus sleeping bag embroidered with the first-person testimony of a British veteran, collected by The Not Forgotten Association.
Other highlights include an LED sculpture titled FLOOR 2015, originally intended for display on the ground, but which the artist has chosen to mount to the ceiling for the first time, allowing audiences to experience the work from a different vantage point. Another LED work, THEY LEFT ME 2018, is programmed with accounts from Syrian refugees, provided by Save the Children and Human Rights Watch, as well as poetry by the celebrated Polish author Anna Świrszczyńska, who was a volunteer nurse and member of the Resistance in World War II.
The ARTIST ROOMS gallery opened in the Blavatnik Building on 17 June 2016 with a Louise Bourgeois display, followed by Bruce Nauman in 2017. The ARTIST ROOMS collection is owned jointly by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland and was established through The d’Offay Donation in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments.
Image credits in order of appearance: 1. Holzer Press 2018. 2. Holzer Press 2018. 3. Holzer Press 2018. 4. Holzer Press 2018. 5. Jenny Holzer, BLUE PURPLE TILT, Photograph ©Tate (Marcus Leith).