Jenny Holzer

Inflammatory Essays

1978-1983
Language is Jenny Holzer's primary medium and her work with text began, in 1977 as a response to posters plastered throughout her neighbourhood in lower Manhattan. With "Inflammatory Essays", Holzer sought to join this conversation by writing a series of scripts that reflect different extreme points of view and encompass such topics as class struggle, religion, oppression and rebellion. Adopting various "personas" as she wrote, Holzer created posters that set out a diverse sequence of demands and statements, yet, in their standardized format, each is given an equal weight. Originally hung one-by-one among other ads and signage throughout New York City, each "voice" sought aggressively to be heard against the visual and auditory cacophony of the urban streets; hung together in the gallery, the essays take on a new meaning in which the extremity of each position becomes heightened alongside the opinions of the others.
Artist
Title
Inflammatory Essays
Date
1978-1983
Medium
Print
Materials
offset lithograph on coloured wove paper
Dimensions
43 x 43 cm each
Nationality
American
Credit line
Purchased 1986
Accession number
29338