Assets and Activities 13, 2013

Oil on linen
203.5 × 157.5 × 4 cm

Jenny Holzer’s ‘Top Secret’ series focuses on intelligence documents from U.S. National Security Archive that were published on the website of the U.S. National Security Archive and disclosed details of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of these documents were so heavily blacked out by censors that almost nothing was readable.

From a distance the works resemble color-theory studies to the works of Kazimir Malevich and Ad Reinhardt. But, on closer look the viewer realizes that the large blocks of color are redactions and the cheery yellows or reds are in fact obfuscations of what could be grim details:

“The colors sometimes will make people walk up; other times the color is some kind of relief, you know, a little mercy on these otherwise unimaginable things.” – Jenny Holzer.

Tatintsian Gallery Selected. Tatintsian Gallery, Dubai. 14 November–30 December 2022
Jenny Holzer: Dust paintings. Cheim & Read, New York, USA. 11 September – 25 October 2014

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