Jenny Holzer

By Claudia Müller

About Jenny Holzer

‘Protect me from what I want’ might be artist Jenny Holzer’s most famous phrase. Part of a collection of statements and aphorisms called ‘Truisms’ begun in 1977, it is typical of Jenny Holzer’s (b. 1950) notoriously acerbic wit. Holzer’s pioneering approach to language and her use of nontraditional media in public settings (for example at Schiphol Airport) make her one of the most significant artists working today. Alternating between fact and fiction, the public and the private, the universal and the particular, Holzer’s work offers an incisive social and psychological portrait of our times. Although she is frequently categorized as a political artist, her work also has a powerfully sensual quality, allowing viewers to be immersed in a text environment. Her texts have appeared on posters, electronic signs (LED), billboards and T-shirts, and most recently as dematerialized, luminous projections on surfaces as varied as ocean waves and the Louvre’s glass pyramid.

About Jenny Holzer


The film looks at the motives behind Holzer’s work, particularly her attitude towards the various media, texts and materials she uses. Directress Claudia Müller followed her over the course of ten years, collecting her own TV footage and other unusual material such as a 16mm film shot for Art Forum in the 80s by Ed Lachman. A beautiful and personal portrait of a down-to-earth personality emerges, who started out as a young street artist in New York in the late 1970s and became one of the most influential female artists of today.

The Art Forum short film about Jenny Holzer at the Guggenheim Museum by Ed Lachman, USA, 1989, will be screened after the film (32 minutes).


About Jenny Holzer


52 min. / Digibeta

Language: English

Subtitles: (No)

Cinematography: Christophe Lerch, Helen Tschudi and Edward Lachman

Sound: Rudolf Schwarz

Editing: Peter Boris Hassmann

Production: a Phlox-Films production, Claudia Müller in Co Production with SF, Antia Hugi, SWR, ARTE France

Claudia Müller studied German Languages, Journalism and Arts in Berlin und Köln. After an internship at NDR she started working for filmmakers Peter Greenaway und Krzysztof Zanussi. Since 1991 Claudia has worked as a television journalist and director making numerous film portraits, videoclips, interviews and documentaries.