artist / participant
Jenny Holzer. Tutta la verità / The Whole Truth
Curated by Lorenzo Giusti
Palazzo della Ragione, Upper Town, Bergamo
Opening on Thursday, May 30, 2019, h. 6.30 pm
Tutta la verità (The Whole Truth), an exhibition of Jenny Holzer’s work at the Palazzo della Ragione in Bergamo curated by GAMeC Director Lorenzo Giusti, will open to the public on 30 May. It marks the return to Italy of one of the most highlyacclaimed and influential artists on the international scene.
Holzer’s work employs the written word as a means of critical reflection and creative expression. In the late 1970s, her Truismscaused a stir, challenging stereotypes about art and society while prefiguring communication methods and strategies now widely deployed in guerrilla marketing. Initially featured on everyday objects –such as street posters, T-shirts, condom wrappers, and baseball caps –these early texts were written to resemble existing aphorisms, maxims, and clichés. Holzer went on to write a number of other text series and later began using the words of others, often in large or more permanent formats including electronic signs, stone benches, and light projections on natural and architectural surfaces, as well as oil paintings and watercolours.
The texts in these works speak of violence, oppression, gender, sexuality, power, war, and death. In Holzer’s art, modes of presentation more often associated with institutional information, news, and advertising become a powerful tool to address political and social issues. She uses language to challenge social norms, prejudices, and violence. The immediacy of Holzer’s message is a weapon against the mystification of reality,as implementedon a daily basis by media organisations, government agencies, and advertisers who engage in the banalisation of language.
The exhibition organised by the GAMeC in Bergamo’s historical Palazzo della Ragione comes only two months after the opening of the artist’s major retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Tutta la verità establishes a dialogue between the stately medieval building,with its grand architectural elements and frescoes, and the subversive poetics of the American artist.
The walls of the Sala delle Capriate, a symbolic place where historically local justice was administered, will provide the backdrop for a series of new light projections. The texts chosen by Holzer for this special occasion will touch on important themes in her work––identity, gender, and dialogue––and in particular will address the ongoing migrant crisis. The authors whose words are featured in the projections include Alemu Tebeje Ayele, Antar Mohamed Marincola, Armin Gorozian, Arnold de Vos, Dunya Mikhail, Faraj Bayrakdar, Fatiha Kamel, Ghayath Almadhoun, Gëzim Hajdari, Hasan Al Nassar, Khawla Dunia, Mahmoud Darwish, Mihai Mircea Butcovan, Mohammad-RezaShafiei Kadkani, Mohja Kahf, Najat Abdul Samad, Omid Shams, Osama Alomar, Sham al-Sa'id, Siza Gorozian, Wisława Szymborska, Yehuda Amichai, Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, and Zein Abdullah.
The exhibition also draws on poems and other texts by Italian writers, including Patrizia Cavalliand Pier Paolo Pasolini, as well as authors from other national contexts, such as Wisława Szymborska, Anna Świrszczyńska, and James Schuyler.
An integral part of the installation will be nine marble benchesproduced for the occasion thanks to the generous support of the Fondazione Henraux. Placed in a circle, the artworkswill provide a place to pause and reflect on both the illuminated walls and the sentences carved into the surfaces of the benches themselves.
Jenny Holzer was born in Gallipolis, Ohio. Her works can be found in some of the most important museum collections in the world, including those of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Tate in London. Holzer represented the United States in 1990 at the Venice Biennale, where she was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Pavilion. She has been honoured with many other awards, including the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award in 1996, the U.S. Department of State’s International Medal of Arts in 2017, and a 2018 Global Fine Art Award for her exhibition SOFTER: Jenny Holzer at Blenheim Palace.