News / Exhibition

The Tate is displaying rarely seen work by Jenny Holzer, and it’s free to the public

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Jenny Holzer: Blue Purple Tilt, 2007
© 2018 Jenny Holzer, member/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Tate/National Galleries of Scotland

Jenny Holzer is an artist renowned for her direct and hard-hitting text-based installations, which highlight the power of free speech. Utilising electronic technologies, the artist explores the nature of public art, communication and human interaction. This summer, in the Tate’s latest series of annual free displays, key works from across Holzer’s four-decade career, including rarely seen pieces, will be displayed in Tate Modern’s dedicated Artist Rooms gallery.

Tate’s Artist Rooms will feature works from Holzer’s significant projects, including Truisms, Living, Survival and Laments. Truisms, her most widely known work, brought together nearly three hundred aphorisms and slogans, utilising clichés and the language of commercialism. Phrases such as “abuse of power comes as no surprise”, were initially displayed inexpensively, pasted up as posters around New York city, printed on T-shirts, stickers and other consumer items. Later they infiltrated the public arena as LED artworks, showcasing the mass market of instant, sound-bite news.

Other works on display are the Redaction Paintings, which reproduce declassified government documents relating to American and British interventions in the Middle East. A more recent LED piece, They Left Me, 2018, will also be exhibited, which features accounts from Syrian refugees, as well as the poetry by celebrated Polish author Anna Świrszczyńska. Holzer’s deeply political work consistently emphasises the need for public truth and is impactful in a world dictated by fake news. The display opened yesterday and will run until summer 2019.

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Jenny Holzer: Truisms, 1984
© Jenny Holzer, Tate

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Jenny Holzer: Inflamatory Essays, 1980s represented in a public exhibition in Los Angeles, 2008.
Courtesy of Wiki Commons