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Jenny Holzer, a projectionist, writer, and concept artist, uses light to display her work on enormous scales. Working mostly with text, she basically casts the literary creation onto a large expanse of surface, allowing viewers to read the message. The material is either original, or excerpted from another writer. The goal behind her work is to inspire and brighten someone’s day with typography taken to the extreme.

I personally like her work a lot. Her messages speak volumes, even though they are silently displayed. The way she exhibits them is amazing. The fact that the “canvas” is above and beyond a normal canvas grabs the attention of the audience, and give them an opportunity to be part of a phenomenal moment in history. How often do you see words stretched across a building? How many times can you say you read a passage off the surface of the ocean?

from Rio de Janeiro

And not only is her presentation unique, but so is the fact that her work relies so heavily on text. Usually art takes on a more graphic approach, usually finding a way to convey a message without words. Textual art does away with this and takes a literary approach. I like that she’s one of the first typographers we’ve looked at. Compare her work to that of Matt Siber. His photos play on words as well, but not in the same way. His message involved the elimination of text, while Holzer’s work is focused on the inclusion of it. Her canvas is already a work of art… the world around us. Holzer creatively adds in clever and deep messages.

from Brakel-Rheder

The sheer scale of Holzer’s work is impressive, but one of my favorites of hers is one of her most popular. Instead of huge proportions, Truisms is notable for its variety. In random places, she leaves interesting phrases and ideas that are open for interpretation. Many are fascinating because they’re truths I hadn’t noticed before. For example, “Fear is the greatest incapacitator.” Every letter of the alphabet has its own set of sayings… and every saying is insightful.

Here’s the current full list of Holzer’s Truisms…. and below is a video of one of her installations.




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