press release

sms contemporanea - the contemporary art centre of the Santa Maria della Scala museum hub in Siena - proudly announces a new project by American artist Jenny Holzer, specifically conceived for the fa├žade of the ancient Sienese hospital and curated by Lorenzo Fusi.

An imposing and inviting light projection will play on the exterior of the building, lending a skin of words that touch on how society is shaped to the place and architecture.

Holzer's short and poignant statements - magnified by the projector - will roll up the front of Santa Maria della Scala as they were the closing credits of a film. Holzer's work induces us to analyse and reflect upon the presumptions and preconceptions that shape culture and politics. The artist's disarming use of language investigates how genders, the individual and society, political power and free will, the public and private spheres function and relate to one other.

This new commission intersects with a series of important and diverse installations of Holzer's work: a light projection created for the Guggenheim Museum in New York that has entered its permanent collection, as well as an extensive exhibition of works from the early '90s to the present day co-organised by Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Foundation Beyeler.

Holzer's emotional and visceral intervention in Siena will partner with the customary beauty of the Cathedral to re-imagine how the Duomo square is passed through, lived in, read, and understood. The passerby will be attracted by the richness of the church and its art in the daytime and by the gigantic lettering that moves along the brick-walls of the former hospital at night.

Jenny Holzer (who won the Golden Lion at the 1990 Venice Biennial) has incorporated text and language into her media-spanning practise since the late 1970s. Her first light projection dates to 1996 and was the debut of her text Arno, named for the Florentine river where the installation was first staged. Since then, she has been invited to present her light projections at numerous cities and locations around the world, including the Spanish Steps in Rome, the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin or the Planetarium in Rio. Holzer's presence in Tuscany represents a return to the country where she first used this medium and her work intelligently interacts with a historically and symbolically charged site, the space shared by the ancient Santa Maria della Scala hospital and the Sienese Cathedral.

The installation is created by running 185 mm film through a light projector equipped with a powerful bulb. This format (much larger than the 35 mm normally used for motion pictures) permit the text to remain sharp at a relatively large size and transforms each projected letter into a monumental element uniquely scaled to its surroundings. Holzer's luminous writing ultimately becomes an architectural device, an ephemeral structure, which highlights meaning in the eye of the observer.

SAVE THE DATE: Opening 28 february, 18.00 h., free entrance, the artist will be present.

only in german

Jenny Holzer - For Siena
Kurator: Lorenzo Fusi