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    About Jenny Holzer

    Jenny Holzer |

    Director: Claudia Müller


    Country: Germany, Switzerland

    Year: 2008

    Length: 52'

    Language: In English, Estonian subtitles

    The American artist Jenny Holzer’s medium is language.
    For more than 30 years, her name has stood for a conceptual art that calls into question our perceptions and the way we are influenced by media and politics.
    Although her pieces can be found in all the world’s major museums, the roots of her work lie outdoors.
    The LED signs we know from advertising are Holzer’s trademark. These text displays (originally created for political propaganda), with their rapid blinking and flickering designed to captivate and sway passers-by, have been repurposed by Holzer since the early 1980s. Programming them with messages of her own, she surprises, provokes and perplexes her public in a place where no one is expecting art: on the street.
    Jenny Holzer is not a poet. Although her many text series, such as the famous “Truisms,” are always quite direct and clearly convey an attitude, it is the interplay of content and form that truly brings her texts to life. Where and how she presents these texts plays a significant role.
    She never forces an attitude on the viewer.
    Sentences like “Abuse of power comes as no surprise” and “Money creates taste” express a reality even as they question its universality, demonstrating how difficult it is to find one’s own position amid the multitude of possibilities.
    With her art, Holzer shows her public again and again how thoroughly we are seduced and manipulated by the visual and textual stimuli that surround us every day.
    Though she is frequently categorized as a political artist because her work often deals with themes such as war, sickness and death, this description does not do her justice.
    Her pieces, installations and objects have a powerfully sensual quality, allowing viewers to visually immerse themselves in her texts. “Text has different effects in different materials,” says Holzer, which is why she is always finding new ways of presenting it. Whether chiseled into stone or shining from a gigantic projector onto rivers, oceans or buildings in the landscape, her texts always elicit different emotions.
    Claudia Müller’s film, which accompanies the artist over the course of 10 years, at work and in numerous exhibitions, makes Holzer’s art tangible as it traces her career, from the young artist putting up posters in New York in the late 1970s to the most influential female artist of today.
    Jenny Holzer’s work demonstrates that, while art may not be able to change the world, it can heighten our awareness of what surrounds us every day.