Jenny Holzer

Interesting intertexuality, pardon the alliteration, with Duchamp’s Anemic cinema… I really liked her piece… and what an interesting form–by taking the text like that, looping it I presume, it’s like this beautiful hybrid between video, sculpture, poetry… the trees are the sculpture, the text is the poetry. It’s almost assaultive in its meaning-laden simplicity. She as an artist didn’t really create any of it–she just has access to a giant overhead projector and she took JFK’s words and projected them onto some trees–but together, it’s just a really powerful scene, and really moving too… moving literally also, the trees in the wind and the water in front… Very interesting. Apparently she’s been doing this kind of stuff since the late 70s, working with and exploring text. It’s like ultra-condensed art, the simplest form of artistic expression… if the goal of most art is to convey meaning (which I think is the most important thing about art) text is one of the most minimal ways of going about that. Text grabs your attention, people want to read it….

I thought it was also interesting how her piece, unlike Duchamp’s video, had a clear message and a clear meaning—-His video was more along the lines of Dadaist poetry, the juxtaposition of any random sounds in order to create something that can be beautiful to listen to that in itsself is devoid of any meaning in human language. Very extravagant, that thought… he just took words that rhymed or that sounded linguistically beautiful to him and arranged them in a way that was asthetic, almost like composing music rather than writing poetry–and in this spiral. In almost all of these avant garde films the spiral is a recurrent visual motif…—-but back to the clear meaning, it was great that the “picture plane” if you can call it that limited the text to a particular dimension, breaking the text up into a series of words that by themselves are relatively meaningless because they’re out of context–so I imagine if you’re walking and passing this thing it would be so frustrating to have to start watching it in the middle–you’d just have to stand there until the whole thing looped over again before it made sense, and that is so–I mean even when you’re in an art gallery just to look at art, you just glance at a piece sometimes if it doesn’t immediately strike you as interesting, so you just give it a good 4 second stare, but her art–you’re staring at that thing for a good five minutes. It captures the viewer, it holds you hostage until her process, word by word, comes together to create a picture so-to-speak in your head…

It’s amazing to me that something so basic can be so moving, I never thought about it before.

4 Replies to “Jenny Holzer”

  1. Awesome post, you have me quite intrigued. I now have to find this work of art. What is it called? And can I see it on YouTube, or some other online video service?

  2. The text was actually up and down a stairway handrail. I really couldn’t find any other information (as it didn’t seem to have a title)than the short blurb and image I found. This should be the link, but I am new to this stuff so bare with me…(I can only copy and paste it, for some reason)
    But it was one of the three images that showed up on the top of the page when I googled her name if this doesn’t get you there. With my primary interest in 3D I really like this piece for it’s involvement with the environment, for some reason it seems more conceptual. Woops gotta go, children calling frantically…Have fun!

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