28 SEPTEMBER – 31 DECEMBER 2017
Blenheim Art Foundation is delighted to release more information about SOFTER, a new exhibition by acclaimed American artist Jenny Holzer. Opening at Blenheim Palace on 28 September, SOFTER will showcase new site-specific works by the artist that focus on prominent themes that have occupied Holzer over her thirty-year career. Within the monumental interiors, Holzer will explore notions of power, conflict and activism, which directly address the military and political history of the 18th century Palace.
Jenny Holzer is regarded as one of the most influential contemporary artists working today. For nearly four decades her conceptual, language-based practice has infiltrated public spaces. The exhibition, conceived by the artist in close collaboration with Blenheim Art Foundation, will feature ambitious new works that highlight the way in which the history of the UNESCO World Heritage site still resonates today.
Transforming the viewers’ experience of Blenheim Palace, Holzer has created several installations specifically for the setting which use digital technology. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a series of large-scale light projections created for the Palace’s grand exterior that will transform the Palace grounds after dark in a series of night-time public events. Text will be projected onto the palace’s main exterior courtyard and surrounds, bringing to light the experiences of recent veterans and addressing global conflict. The light projections draw on first-hand accounts of recent conflicts, contributed by UK veterans via the Not Forgotten Association, Holzer’s new commissions will bring these personal experiences of war into the public sphere. The artist will also explore the potential of virtual space, with augmented reality technology developed especially for Blenheim Palace. Created as an integral part of the exhibition, digital versions of Holzer’s artwork will be shown through an innovative new app. Displaying text from the light projections and new interactive elements, this bespoke offer will allow for visitors to experience Holzer’s work through the app on their smartphone devices. Collaborating with Holition, a leading digital technology agency, the app is an extension of the exhibition itself.
Additional highlights of the exhibition will include light and sound installations, with many LED signage pieces installed throughout the grand halls and state rooms of the Palace. Alongside these interventions, several examples of Holzer’s recent work, including abstract paintings, engraved stone benches, as well as substantial installations with dramatic black mondo grass will be strikingly juxtaposed against the architecture of the palace. Jenny Holzer is the fourth contemporary artist to exhibit at Blenheim Palace, following exhibitions by Ai Weiwei, Lawrence Weiner and Michelangelo Pistoletto. The exhibition continues Blenheim Art Foundation’s commitment to exposing new audiences to contemporary art by showcasing the most important artists working today within one of England’s most treasured landmarks. Michael Frahm, Director of Blenheim Art Foundation, said: “We are very excited to work with Jenny Holzer for the Foundation’s 2017 programme. Her vision for the show is extraordinary and this exhibition looks to push boundaries in terms of what visitors expect to see at contemporary art exhibitions. Jenny has been one of art’s strongest and most unique voices since the 1980s, and it is an honour to work alongside her on this new chapter in her work, and to continue to showcase ground-breaking contemporary art at Blenheim Palace.” Jenny Holzer, said: “My first visit to Blenheim Palace left me with too many ideas, on the complex past and its relevance to this knife edge present.”
Notes to Editors
About Jenny Holzer
For more than thirty-five years, Jenny Holzer (b. 1950) has presented her astringent ideas, arguments, and sorrows in public places and international exhibitions, including 7 World Trade Center, the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her medium, whether formulated as a T-shirt, a plaque, or an LED sign, is writing, and the public dimension is integral to the delivery of her work. Starting in the 1970s with the New York City posters, and continuing through her recent light projections on landscape and architecture, her practice has rivaled ignorance and violence with humor, kindness, and courage. Holzer received the Leone d’Oro at the Venice Biennale in 1990, the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award in 1996, and the Barnard Medal of Distinction in 2011. She holds honorary degrees from Williams College, the Rhode Island School of Design, The New School, and Smith College. She lives and works in New York.
About Blenheim Art Foundation
Blenheim Art Foundation launched on 1 October 2014 with the aim of establishing a new programme of contemporary art at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. Offering visitors a unique opportunity to experience contemporary art in the historic setting of the Palace and its celebrated grounds, the not-for-profit foundation aims to give the greatest number of people access to the most innovative contemporary artists working today. Previous exhibitions include Ai Weiwei at Blenheim
Palace in 2014, Lawrence Weiner: Within a Realm of Distance in 2015 and Michelangelo Pistoletto at Blenheim Palace in 2016.
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About Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace is the home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir
Winston Churchill. This masterpiece of 18th-century Baroque architecture boasts over 300 years of
history and is a World Heritage Site surrounded by more than 2000 acres of Capability Brown
landscaped parkland and formal gardens. Not only an iconic part of history, Blenheim Palace is also a
living and changing experience with a wealth of events, themed tours and exhibitions throughout the
Holition is one of the UK’s leading creative technology agencies shaping the future of social
experience with insight and digital empathy. Based in London, they are a multi-linguistic team of
scientists, film-makers, UX strategists, visual artists, mathematicians and more. An award-winning
agency, Holition crafts premium 3D digital experiences for a growing network of pioneering digital
luxury organisations across the beauty, fashion and retail sectors. www.holition.com
About The Not Forgotten Association
The Not Forgotten Association puts the fun, energy and enjoyment back into the life of those who
have taken a knock for their country. The NFA was founded in 1920 ‘for the comfort, cheer and
entertainment’ of servicemen injured in the Great War. Today it remains true to its original principles,
providing recreation, leisure and entertainment to serving personnel and veterans who are wounded,
injured, sick or disabled. www.nfassociation.org