Public/Private Interventions

November 8, 2006

Jenny Holzer – public/private tumatanui/tumataiti

Filed under: Contextual References — mastermistress @ 1:23 pm

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  • Uses traditional advertising displays to lure the viewer into slowing down
  • Use ordinary items such as plates, napkins, t-shirts, costume jewelry for printing on, text throughout public buildings and cities as well as normal art forms
  • She tries to add a bewildering bit of poetry or horror to the beautifully groomed gardens and proud public memorials
  • ‘Uses cities as monumental monitors for their fleeting content, which is only visible after dark’
  • Uses texts that she has been writing since the 70’s – she puts them on surfaces of our realities (everyday public items) designed to draw out physical and mental attention to ‘preconceived notions of marginalia of a collective conscious’
  • She comments on sex, war, death, birth, violence, love, power, truth, madness
  • Doesn’t use intellectual detachment or objectivising impartiality – I’d say that means she tries to make it reach all people not over their heads in any way plus doesn’t discriminate between race or difference?
  • She targets art as the forum of a public conscience and uses public space as a political arena
  • Her public actions involve putting up things such as posters – borrows privileges that belong to both art and social status
  • Exploits language and authority of structures of social power to show the intimate, subjective and invisible realities
  • Her texts and choice of their location provokes a collision between systems and categories
  • Public/private, aggressive/passive, apathetic/committed, victim/aggressor, power/powerlessness
  • Her use of power structures (dominant geographical locations) are the vehicle for ‘spatial participations’ of these voices in a social context
  • Her words supposedly don’t make a moral stand, but rely on the discerning judgment of the reader – which are her ‘memorials to the human ability to form opinions unaided’ – has been asked to redesign war memorials because of this
  • Her monuments serve not only the present but also contribute to future collective memory and consciousness
  • She also plays on question ownership concerning the monument builders and political interests of the present or to historical reality of victims

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