Monday, March 9, 2009

Jenny Holzer: Buenos Aires Installation, 2000

Jenny Holzer is a well-known artist who chooses highly visible locations for her text art. A large portion of her works are series of simple statements and slogans that address sociocultural trends or what we hold to be truths. Holzer refers to these statements as "truisms." She has also used texts from other famous writers in her works and is known as a feminist artist. Her works are simple, yet powerful and thought-provoking.

This particular installation in Buenos Aires is a highly public location - the middle of the harbor. The text is simple, yet conveys a powerful emotion. The location and the words work well together; the piece reminds me of one of the informal public declarations of love I've seen hanging off of highway overpasses or carved into treetrunks. At the same time the text and location are romantic, the line "who did this to me" gives the piece a greater depth and (almost) conflict or inner struggle within the speaker. This work encapsulates the paradox or "roller coaster" of being in love - a mixture of infatuation, adoration, confusion, pain, and vulnerability. The work is simple, yet generates complex thoughts and emotions within the viewer.

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