Jenny Holzer. Where women are dying, I am wide awake.

EXHIBITION 16.11 – 12.12.93

In collaboration with the "Süddeutsche Zeitung", Haus der Kunst presents the works on paper from the series "Where Women Are Dying I Am Wide Awake" by the American conceptual artist Jenny Holzer (b. 1950) created for edition No. 46 of the newspaper's weekly magazine supplement. After studying design and painting, Holzer established herself as a multimedia artist with works consisting of written messages on street posters, commercial billboards, LED signs, and electronic displays. After participating in two documentas, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum dedicated a solo exhibition to her in 1989-90. In 1990, she became the first woman to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale. 
Since 1977, Holzer has been creating "Truisms"; brief, laconic statements that upon closer inspection reveal deeper meanings and that serve as the contextual basis for her art. The artist initially displayed phrases like EXPIRING FOR LOVE IS BEAUTIFUL BUT STUPID on posters, T-shirts, or signs in urban public space. This artistic strategy reached its peak in 1982 as an electronic billboard in New York's Times Square. Flickering amid a wealth of colorful advertisements were statements like MONEY CREATES TASTE, FATHERS OFTEN USE TOO MUCH FORCE, and PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT. The phrases reflect the linguistic and cultural patterns of current thought and motivate the viewer to read, focus briefly, and search for meaning. 
Holzer turned away from the computer-controlled displays and immortalized her messages on a BMW "art car" and as engravings on granite benches. In Haus der Kunst she finds her way back from the street to a presentation in a newspaper and museum. The photographic series "Sex Murder" relates to the sexual violence to which women were exposed during the war in former Yugoslavia. In each large-format work, a close-up of human skin displaying tattoo-like sentences such as WITH YOU IN ME I BEGIN TO ANTICIPATE DEATH. Written with a mixture of ink and human blood, the artist makes targeted use of mass-media shock effect to evoke the victims’ physical and emotional pain. With her "Truisms" Holzer not only addresses painful issues of our consumer society but, as with the works presented here, also proves herself a vigilant moral conscience of contemporary art. 

In collaboration with the "Sueddeutsche Zeitung Magazin", Munich.

Jenny Holzer, Where Women Are Dying, I Am Wide Awake, 1993

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