Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer at Mass MoCA...

Strange to see how intimate she has managed to make this huge space... it was like opening the door to a dollhouse. The space is practically empty, she's done it all with lighting and scale... the projected words are in fact huge, but from across the vast hall you don't initially realize it... and the beanbag chairs are as big as cars, but again, standing at the door of the darkened space they're like clumps of mushrooms.

The experience is so relaxing and pleasurable, I'm not sure what to make of sinking myself into a giant soft pillow and being soothed by war poetry... or rather, soothed by scrolling atmospheric lights, because I can't say I focused on trying to read much of the text.

The projected text scrolls along the floor and ceiling, wrapping around at the walls... in effect you are sort of embraced by the text while laying flat on your back, cuddled by the soft chair... lulled into passivity. People enter the space, weave around a little, and drop... bodies scattered everywhere.

It is impossible to consider this show without comparing it to the almost-Buchel show; Buchel's unsuccessful attempt to fill the space as densely as possible, Holzer's emptiness... Buchel's bodies required to investigate and navigate a labyrinthe, Holzer's motionless bodies... Buchel's need to push and provoke, Holzer's willingness to aid in time of need (even the Holzer books and merchandise for sale in the shop area have been donated by the artist).

RELATED: Cate McQuaid for Boston Globe, Charles Giuiano's Maverick Arts, Ken Johnson for NYTimes.

No comments: