Jenny Holzer - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, July 9, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Skarstedt, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    "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

    Jenny Holzer
    Truism Footstool (detail), 1988
    As the first female to represent the United States in the Venice Biennale, New York-based neo-conceptual artist Jenny Holzer has garnered irrefutable international recognition for her inimitable use of language and interventions in the public space. Whether penned herself or borrowed from others, Holzer explores language as both a means of communication, as well as how words can manipulate and influence us in our day-to-day lives. Commencing her celebrated ‘Truisms’ series in 1977 by pasting black and white quotes throughout New York, presented as everyday objects to engage with the wandering eye of a passer-by, Holzer’s visionary ‘truths’ have developed into a list of aphorisms that concern the meaning of life. Whether interpreted as inspiring, confrontational, or even contradictory, Holzer’s text-based works are professed from a universal perspective, touching on an array of provocative themes such as violence and oppression, feminism, vulnerability, and consumerist impulses.

    Roman plaque with Funerary inscription, 2nd – 3rd century A.D.
    Collection of Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
    Composed of granite in the shape of a footstool, the present work stands authoritatively. Covered by carved statements, the enduring material requires its viewers to meander around it to absorb it in its entirety, further enhancing its sense of permanence. Echoing the lavish commemorative monuments of engraved stone that offer a place for reflection, Holzer’s use of controversial language on the sculpture provides a curious juxtaposition to uncover uncomfortable truths and provoke a response. Through her charged statements, as embodied in the present work’s chiseled ‘truisms’, Holzer directly engages with her audience as she embodies the rebellious spirit of contemporary times.

  • Artist Biography

    Jenny Holzer

    American • 1950

    Jenny Holzer is a Conceptual artist best known for her text-based public art projects. Holzer's work speaks of violence, oppression, sexuality, feminism, power, war and death. Throughout the years, Holzer has employed a variety of media, from a T-shirt to a plaque to an LED sign. Starting in the 1970s with the New York City posters, and continuing through her recent light projections on landscape and architecture, she uses her art as a form of communication and commentary. Holzer's art hangs in important collections around the globe including 7 World Trade Center, the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao and the Whitney Museum of American Art. 

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Truism Footstool

incised Baltic brown granite
41.4 x 58.5 x 40.3 cm. (16 1/4 x 23 x 15 7/8 in.)
Executed in 1988, this work is from an edition of 40 plus 8 artist's proofs.

HK$150,000 - 250,000 

Sold for HK$600,000

Contact Specialist
Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 9 July 2020