American artist Jenny Holzer, also one of the most respected contemporary artists working today, is bringing her most admired works to exhibit at Pearl Lam Galleries in Hong Kong, and she does it in Chinese the first time ever.
Her solo exhibition from September 19 to November 2 titled Light Stream brings together her most admired text series including Truisms (1977-79), Living (1980-82), and Survival (1983-85), displayed through mass LED installation comprising over 25 LED elements in blue, green and red diodes. Truisms and Survival are presented in Chinese with the help of 5 translators.
Known for her large-scale public projection of texts, Jenny Holzer’s works take the forms of aphorisms, declarations and statements that depict complex and controversial matters of the society and the world.
My favorite is Truism which was Holzer’s first body of texts referencing everyday matters such as personal life-altering decisions, love and relationships as well as moral judgments to the world’s most debated issues.
Texts such as “it is man’s fate to outsmart himself”, “romantic love was invented to manipulate women” and “a man can’t know what it is to be a mother” discuss unintelligible yet fundamental matters tangled between men and women. Other texts like “if you live simply there is nothing to worry about”, “every achievement requires a sacrifice”, “disgust is the appropriate response to most situations” and “all things are delicately interconnected” describe Holzer’s raw and truthful cosmology.
Truism was originally printed on posters and anonymously pasted on buildings and walls across New York City in the 1970s, now it got to be shown through LED elements thanks to Holzer’s long-time desire to produce a swarming mass of texts in one work with the help of Pearl Lam Galleries.
Apart from the centerpiece LED installations, there is also a selection of white marble benches with Holzer’s texts in Truism carved in Chinese:
- 金錢造就品味 (Money creates taste)
- 不要太相信專家 (Don’t place too much trust in experts)
- 自由是奢侈品而非必需品 (Freedom is a luxury not a necessity)
- 孤獨讓人感到充實 (Solitude is enriching)
The spacious Pearl Lam Galleries creates an overwhelming ambience to the rotating LED texts, thus provoking audience to think more in-depth about what the texts imply. Especially for those exhibition-goers who can read both English and Chinese, the exhibited works would easily evoke thoughts of cultural difference and how those texts – written by an American artist in 1970s and 1980s – would apply in today’s Chinese society. The exhibition creates a mind-blowing journey calling for one’s action to ponder over the ideas of black and white, love and hate, money and greed, and punishments and rewards.
“Light Stream” Solo Exhibition by Jenny Holzer
September 19 – November 2, 2013
Pearl Lam Galleries, 6/F, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong
Monday-Saturday, 10am – 7pm