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Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer

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Jenny Holzer

Softer: Jenny Holzer at Blenheim Palace: 28 September – 31 December 2017

One of America’s most loved living artists since the 1980s, Jenny Holzer’s practice circles around language to question systems of power and authority in society. Since 2010, Holzer’s work has been focused particularly on modern conflict. On her first visit to Blenheim Palace, she became fascinated by the Palace’s own military history; not only as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, but also its origin as a reward to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, for military triumphs in the 1704 Battle of Blenheim. For her exhibition, Holzer used this legacy as a starting point to look at the timeless and universal theme of conflict, across time and countries. Using technology, stonework, light projections, a virtual reality mobile app,and her celebrated LED light installations, Holzer engaged with the historical precedents that have cemented Blenheim Palace’s enduring legacy, andoffered descriptions of life during wartime, recounting real experiences of soldiers and civilians.

For twelve evenings the Palace hosted Holzer’s spectacular light projections‘ On War’. Projected on to the historic façade of the Palace and on the nearby island, this was Holzer’s most ambitious display to date.Text for the artworks was drawn from accounts gathered by The Not Forgotten Association, a British charity that supports service men, women, and veterans suffering from combat injuries and other related challenges. Over fifty veterans from the NFA participated in the exhibition, sharing their experiences, and reflecting on the effects of their service on their loved ones and on themselves. Other contributors included charities Save the Children, Human Rights Watch, and polish war poet Anna Swirszczynska. The exhibition was the winner of the 2018 Global Fine Art Awards for Best Public Exhibition

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