Tate Modern Exhibition Review – Artist Rooms: Jenny Holzer

American artist Jenny Holzer had her thought provoking work displayed at the Tate Modern, London.

The Tate Modern is externally a geometric and brutal shape in the skyline, however once you step inside you are welcomed by smooth curvatures of the staircases and smooth concrete surfaces. This contrast really transforms your experience as you didn’t expect this drastic change and are intrigued by what else the museum has to offer around every corner. I was interested to see how the art displayed would be enhanced by the surrounding space and how the artist would use this.


Holzer’s exhibition ‘Artist Room‘ predominantly communicated through written language, the texts existed on posters, electronic signs, engravings and many other forms. Each rooms shape and size played a crucial role in the effect of each piece of art. For example, room two was wide and tall, this allowed the electronic art to stretch across the entirety of the room without being obscured by anything else. This allowed the focus to become entirely on the illuminating piece and your eyes could follow from the left of the room to the right following the message displayed. Although this piece was appealing to look at, I found the text difficult to read as it was moving at a fast pace and the text wasn’t positioned upright.


The room which interested me the most was room one, this is because it provoked my emotions and thoughts.

Room one was plastered from the top of the walls right down to the bottom with posters which had truisms listed on them. The ceiling was high and the walls were thin, this created an overwhelming sense of suffocation from the information which we were taking in. 


These truisms were made up of common sayings, clichés, and maxims, she composed nearly 300 slogans expressing many points of view. Holzer has compiled her research of hundreds of copied captioned diagrams from library books and turned information into art. This is subjective as it could be perceived as documentation in a large scale rather than art. What is interesting about this room is that it can be interpreted by anyone, even someone with no interest in art whatsoever. 

The statements were provoking because they were very blunt and almost insensitive to anyone who could become easily offended. The best part of the room was listening to the conversations people were having about the walls, I could hear laughing as well as scoffing in disagreement. Some of the statement on the walls I agreed with, some I didn’t, and some of them left me thinking all day, for example ‘The land belongs to no one’. This statement really played on my mind especially where the world is currently positioned with climate change and pollution. I felt as though the words on the walls were from people giving advice on life, however I know the information was sourced randomly, but maybe my age and personal path wanted to search for meaning in somethings.




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