Jenny Holzer Truism: All things are delicately interconnected..., 1987

Standing authoritatively and honestly, Truisms: All things are delicately interconnected..., 1987, expertly embodies Jenny Holzer’s artistic practice. Shortly after moving to New York City, Holzer worked nearly exclusively on her acclaimed Truisms series from 1977-1979, marking a turning point in the artist’s career.

Jenny HolzerTruisms: All things are delicately interconnected..., 1987

This body of work is a conglomeration of blunt stream-of-consciousness declarations that touch upon an array of provocative themes such as feminism, violence, oppression and vulnerability. Candidly professed from an anonymous and universal perspective, the artist’s Truisms poetically reveal one’s most intimate and, at times, irreverent thoughts.

Jenny Holzer, Truisms: UNEX Sign, executed 1983, sold for $471,000 at Phillips 17 May 2018

By design, the organization and clarity of Holzer’s work invite personal reflection and comprehension by its viewers without requiring art historical expertise. Originating as black and white posters, the artist’s Truisms were initially presented as everyday objects to engage the wandering eye of a passer-by. Holzer’s phrases are viewed as powerful and assertive, physically breaking the barriers of a traditional art setting. Several editions of her benches have been shown in public outdoor exhibitions and commingle with the surrounding environment, further reinforcing the direct engagement with the viewer that has been a central tenet of her practice since the beginning.

Jenny Holzer, Truisms: All things are delicately interconnected..., 1987

Holzer’s stone benches are at once intimidatingly stoic while also readily welcoming. This particular piece on offer in our February New Now sale in New York features a selection of Truisms that cover the entirety of the object allowing viewers to meander around and absorb the piece in its unique totality. Holzer imbues equal significance with her chosen media as she does with her content. The sleek marble of the work resembles a commemorative monument, and thus lends her engraved words a particular gravitas.

I wanted a lot simultaneously: to leave art outside for the public, to be a painter of mysterious yet ordered works, to be explicit but not didactic, to find the right subjects, to transform spaces, to disorient and transfix people, to offer up beauty, to be funny and never lie. – Jenny Holzer

Whether substantial or nonsensical, Holzer's Truisms are presented with authority and permanence. Assertions such as “disgust is the appropriate response to most situations” may resonate with particular spectators, while others may chuckle at its perturbed cynicism.

Uniting playful language with enduring material, and personal truths with an impersonal presentation, Truisms: All things are delicately interconnected... speaks genuinely to Jenny Holzer’s creative ambitions as an artist.