Jenny Holzer: Light Stream
Exhibition Dates: 19 September–2 November, 2013
Press Preview on Tuesday, 17 September, 3-5pm
Opening reception on Wednesday, 18 September 6-8pm
HONG KONG—American artist Jenny Holzer will present Light Stream, a major
exhibition of new and vintage work in her first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, at Pearl
Lam Galleries, which will open on 18 September, 2013. For this exhibition, Holzer
draws upon her text series Truisms (1977–79), Living (1980–82), and Survival (1983–
85), presenting Truisms and Survival for the first time in Chinese.
Jenny Holzer is one of the most respected contemporary artists working today, best
known for large-scale public projections of text. Influenced by literature, society, and
politics, her work explores notions of transparency, sexuality, morality, and power. Her
texts take the form of declarations, quotes, and statements from many points of view,
often inhabiting complex and controversial subject matter.
For Light Stream, Holzer selected phrases from Truisms, Living, and Survival to
present on electronic signs and on stone benches. Truisms comprises over 250 single
sentence declarations written by Holzer at the beginning of her career and crafted to
resemble existing aphorisms. Originally printed on posters and anonymously pasted
on buildings and walls across New York City in the 1970s,Truisms was Holzer's first
body of text. Living references everyday, visceral topics, such as the body and
personal relationships, to evoke notions of vulnerability within a fast-paced modern
environment and the individual grappling with life-altering decisions. Survival, the first
text series written specifically for electronic signs, is a cautionary series where each
sentence instructs, informs, or questions in a more urgent tone.
The centrepiece of the exhibition is Holzer’s largest LED gallery work to date, which
comprises over 25 LED elements. Light Stream (2013), also the title of the exhibition,
was born of Holzer’s long-time desire to produce a swarming mass of texts in one
work, and is realised for the first time with Pearl Lam Galleries. Using selections from
all three series, the result is a pulsating, flashing heap of text with statements layered
and wrapped around one another in frenetic light and colour. Chinese and English texts
appear alongside each other, reflecting and encouraging dialogue within the exhibition.
Describing the work, Jenny Holzer explains, 'Though I rely on minimalist
configurations, for decades I have wanted to offer a massive, irrational, unpredictable
heap of glittering displays. I am happy about the paradox—what appears wild, chaotic,
and spontaneous is a greater technical puzzle and a more difficult challenge to realise.
Pearl Lam Galleries and years of building precisely configured LED signs have made
this new electronic wilderness possible.'
Holzer’s LED works are individually programmed to pulse at specific rates. By throwing
light and colour, the LED pieces map the darkened gallery space.
Alongside the LED works, Holzer will present a selection of white marble benches,
which are the first works she has produced in Chinese. With their connotations of
monuments or Classical sculpture, the solid and memorial form of the marble works
offers a dramatic contrast to the LEDs. Short statements such as 'MONEY CREATES
TASTE' and 'DON’T PLACE TOO MUCH TRUST IN EXPERTS,' chosen for their
particular resonance and impact, are carved in Chinese into the bench seats.
Althea Viafora-Kress, International Gallery Director of Pearl Lam Galleries, said, 'Jenny
Holzer is recognised worldwide for her contribution to public and text-based
contemporary art. We’re delighted to present this influential artist’s first solo
exhibition in Hong Kong, and to help realise Holzer’s first mass LED installation.
Presenting seminal texts from Holzer’s oeuvre in the Chinese language for the first
time is highly symbolic and embodies the Galleries’ mission to stimulate cultural
dialogue and exchange.'
For more than thirty years, Jenny Holzer has presented her astringent ideas,
arguments, and sorrows in public places and international exhibitions, including 7
World Trade Center, the Reichstag, the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museums in
New York and Bilbao, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her medium, whether
formulated as a T-shirt, a plaque, or an LED sign, is writing, and the public dimension is
integral to the delivery of her work. Starting in the 1970s with the New York City
posters, and up to her recent light projections on landscape and architecture, her
practice has rivaled ignorance and violence with humour, kindness, and moral
courage. Holzer received the Leone d'Oro at the Venice Biennale in 1990 and the
Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum in 1996. She holds honorary degrees
from Ohio University, Williams College, the Rhode Island School of Design, The New
School, and Smith College. She received the Barnard Medal of Distinction in 2011.
Holzer lives and works in New York.
About Pearl Lam Galleries
Founded by Pearl Lam, the Galleries' mission is to stimulate cross-cultural dialogue
and cultural exchange between East and West by establishing distinct and rigorous
programming in each of its gallery spaces in Hong Kong, Shanghai and the
forthcoming Singapore gallery, opening in November 2013.
Pearl Lam Galleries is dedicated to championing Chinese artists who re-evaluate the
philosophy and perception of Chinese contemporary art, whilst also committed to
presenting major exhibitions by international artists. Jim Lambie, Yinka Shonibare
MBE, and Zhu Jinshi are among the line-up of artists who will have solo exhibitions at
the Galleries in 2013.
Pearl Lam Design shows works by established and emerging international designers
including André Dubreuil, Maarten Baas, Mattia Bonetti, and Studio Makkink & Bey.
They are invited to push the boundaries of traditional Chinese art and craft techniques
and create new works that reflect their experiences in China.