JENNY HOLZER "MORTAL EYES - INFLAMMATORY ESSAY" 1982
Jenny Holzer is one of the most important and original artists of the 20th century.
Her body of work, with its emphasis on text, is provocative and occasionally frightening, paraphrasing everything from folk wisdom to political theory to comment on global issues including power structures, gender struggle, democracy and warfare.
Holzer's iconic "Inflammatory Essays", produced between 1979 and 1982, were first pasted on city walls in New York and then beyond. Unsigned and commercially produced, they subverted the conventions of both advertising, graffiti and public art. Each essay was in a different eye-catching color to maximize viewers' attention. It was also helpful when one Essay replaced an older one.
The texts were derived from her childhood interest in rapturous writings. Holzer tried to emulate a similar style for her essays, yet borrowed from political theorists (notably Mao, Lenin and Emma Goldman), anarchists and religious fanatics.
The essays shift between multiple viewpoints and do not reflect Holzer’s own, but rather overall themes and styles taken from her inspirations. The essay's tones are declarative, aggressive, urgent, and often menacing.
Each essay contains exactly 100 words in 20 lines of text. The rigidity of this contained format is juxtaposed against the extreme content exploding from the essay. It is worth emphasizing that these texts were frequently pasted on walls alongside or even covering conventional street advertising.
Over the course of Holzer's career, the artist has continued to revisit the content and approach of the "Inflammatory Essays" and have become a cornerstone of her practice.
This turquoise-tinted Inflammatory Essay reads like an excerpt from a fiery preacher's fanatical sermon. It warns to believe unquestioningly in a divine, higher power (presumably God), while accepting the hand one is dealt in life. The price for questioning the divine or reaching beyond what has been provided is eternal hell in the afterlife (perdition). Convincingly mimicking fire and brimstone preachers, Holzer exposes the aggressive fear tactics religious figures employ in achieving congregational compliance.
Though created decades ago, Holzer's texts remain timeless and urgent - and perhaps more relevant than ever given today's sociopolitical environment.
The "Inflammatory Essays" can be found in numerous museum collections including the Tate (London), the Broad (Los Angeles, The Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), MACBA (Barcelona), and the Centre Pompidou (Paris) to mention a few.
Questions about this artwork? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720
"Inflammatory Essay" (from Documenta 1982)
Very good condition
Detailed condition report by request
Note: Essay was photographed in a plastic protective sleeve
Literature: "Jenny Holzer" by Diane Waldman 1989, pg. 58-59
Free USA and Canada shipping when purchased online
- Where does the inventory ship from?
Our inventory is divided between New York and Toronto.
- Where do you ship to?
We can ship anywhere. Typically when we ship within North America we prefer to use FedEx or DHL. To Europe, Asia and beyond we generally use DHL.
- How much does it cost to ship?
For shipments within North America, we typically charge a flat rate fee. Many items on our site will list the rate. For shipping outside of North America, we can easily provide a quote and will look for the most efficient and economical option.
Most of the items on our site can be easily shipped internationally.
Occasionally we will recommend that an artwork be removed from its frame for shipping. Larger framed works are typically framed with plexiglass. We export over 80% of what we sell, so we are comfortable shipping anywhere.
- Are there additional taxes or fees?
When a work is valued above $2,500 usd there is a possibility of tax of 0.35%, but this is applied sporadically. There can similarly be an additional fee for customs brokerage and this can range from $20 - $65. US Taxes, duties and customs brokerage are not included in our flat rate shipping. However most of our shipments to the US enter without any additional fees.
- Do you provide a certificate of authenticity?
Yes, we guarantee everything we sell. We can provide both a digital and printed version of our certificate of authenticity.
What is your return policy?
- Caviar20 wants you to be 100% satisfied with your purchase. We have a 7 day no-questions full refund return policy for your purchase. Shipping charges are non-refundable. Return shipping is the responsibility of the customer. After 8 days returns are given a credit note. There is no expiration for our credit notes.
- What payment methods do you accept?
Canadian clients are welcomed and encouraged to pay with interac.