Jenny Holzer

Phase III Decisive Operations violet (2007)

About this artwork

Jenny Holzer’s works have a strong political emphasis, questioning how information is both controlled and received in the public domain. In this series of screenprints she reveals sensitive government transcripts relating to America’s intervention in the Middle East. Here, a document from the US National Security Archive has been enlarged to show a map of Iraq, on which broad arrows indicate planned routes of attack on Baghdad and its surroundings. The painted violet surface undulates, becoming more saturated in certain places to mimic the colour that skin turns when it bruises. Holzer uses the words "declassified" and "declassify" as well as various acronyms to encourage us to consider the sensitive nature of the military information set against the image of a divided and threatened Iraq.

  • title: Phase III Decisive Operations violet
  • accession number: AR01135
  • artist: Jenny HolzerAmerican (born 1950)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • date created: 2007
  • measurements: 201.10 x 260.00 x 4.00 cm
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS Presented by the artist jointly to National Galleries of Scotland and Tate and acquired with assistance of the ARTIST ROOMS Endowment, supported by the Henry Moore Foundation 2011
  • copyright: © 2016 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer

The American installation and conceptual artist, Jenny Holzer, came to prominence in the late 1970s. Renowned for her dramatic and intentionally provocative use of text and language, she frequently employs modern technology as her artistic medium. She has projected her statements onto the landscape, printed t-shirts, created posters and plastered them around cities and flashed them as LED signs. In these messages, Holzer tackles issues such as the environment, class and family structures, and war. Her work deliberately subverts established traditions regarding art, such as where it should be shown, for whom, and with what intention. In 1990 she represented America at the Venice Biennale and her installation was awarded first prize.