The MMCA Commissioned Project showcases large-scale installations by leading contemporary artists who propose a new discourse and futuristic vision for contemporary art. For the 2019 project, MMCA is collaborating with American artist Jenny Holzer, who employs language in various public spaces to address collective concerns and private anxieties. For the MMCA Commissioned Project "FOR YOU: Jenny Holzer" the artist presents new works within MMCA Seoul (Seoul Box/lobby) and MMCA Gwacheon (outdoor space).
In the late 1970s, Holzer began anonymously wheatpasting posters around the streets of New York City. This series, Truisms, consists of brief alphabetized statements on diverse subjects that distill contradictory perspectives and contentious ideas into seemingly straightforward statements of fact. For the past 40 years, her work has continued to draw attention to societal problems and political injustices by emblazoning text on everything from T-shirts, hats and plaques to stonework, electronic signs, architecture and landscapes. Holzer's work sparks participation and debate, allowing room for diverse interpretations. Her interventions bring an array of pressing contemporary concerns- such as abuses of power, war and gender inequality -to the surface, often amplifying the voices of historically marginalized groups.
"FOR YOU: Jenny Holzer" presents works in the artist's best-known mediums: posters, LED signs and carved stone installed in various indoor and outdoor spaces at MMCA. The Inflammatory Essays and Truisms posters (presented here in both English and Korean), among Holzer's earliest works, explore language as a medium. In addition to the posters, 11 Truisms selected by the artist have been permanently engraved on the stone bridge at MMCA Gwacheon, inviting visitors to pause and contemplate their meaning while taking in the natural landscape. For a new monumental LED artwork at Seoul Box Gallery, Holzer foregrounds the voices of women, featuring texts by contemporary authors including Kim Hyesoon, Han Kang, Emily Jungmin Yoon, Svetlana Alexievich and Hawzhin Azeez. Examined together, the work of these authors reflects on accounts of violence, sacrifice and tenderness experienced by women, in everyday life and in times of conflict.