Jenny Holzer (b. 1950)
Palladium leaf and oil on linen
203.6 x 157.5 x 4.3 cm / 80 1/8 x 62 x 1 3/4 inches
For more than forty years, Jenny Holzer has presented her ideas, arguments, sorrows and pithy statements in public places and international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi, to name a few. Last year, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao presented the largest solo exhibition of Jenny Holzer’s work to date.
Major museums around the world have her works in their public collections. Holzer is best known by her immortal statement: “The abuse of power comes as no surprise.”
As a conceptual and installation artist Jenny works across different media, including electronic and LED signs, carved stone, billboards, printed materials, paintings and drawings. In her work she creates a powerful tension between feeling and knowledge, with a practice that includes both individual and collective experiences of power and violence, vulnerability and tenderness. To learn more about Jenny Holzer, download a review by critic Samito Jalbuena in PDF.
Her recent oil paintings and watercolors use as source publicly-released U.S. government documents, often redacted by powers that be to hide accountability.
The work above refers to a page with a transcribed witness statement from a report investigating the death of a detainee named Jamal Naseer in Afghanistan. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the documents contained in this report “reveal charges that Special Forces beat, burned, and doused eight prisoners with cold water before sending them into freezing weather conditions.”
The ACLU asserts one of the eight prisoners, Jamal Naseer, died in U.S. custody. Despite numerous witness statements describing the evidence of torture, the military’s investigation concluded that the charges were unsupported. It also concluded that Naseer’s death was the result of stomach ailment, although no autopsy had been conducted.
This painting was part of a Jenny Holzer exhibition that was held in Gstaad last winter where the work was publicly unveiled for the first time.
Said an expert witness: “The silvery Palladium foil [on the piece] reflects light stunningly. It is absolutely magnificent work when you see it in person!”
Currently, the work is available for viewing in Hong Kong.
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