NARRATOR: “YOUSPIT ON THEMBECAUSETHETASTELEFT ON YOURTEETHEXCITES. YOUSHOWEDTHEMHOPEALLOVERYOURFACEFORYEARSANDTHENKILLEDTHEM IN THEINTEREST OF TIME.”
Jenny Holzer’s cold, gleaming black granite bench dares you to sit. Engraved like a monument, by a professional tombstone carver, it memorializes the human psyche’s most vicious instincts. By using a material that will last for thousands of years, Holzer insists on the unending brutality of human nature. As she once explained, “Well, if everyone dies, this writing will stay on the rock. Typically, the work has a lean, minimalist appearance. Holzer’s tone is cool and neutral, making her words all the more shocking.
Words are the basis of Holzer’s art. She transfers phrases from one medium, such as the granite bench you see here, to others—stickers, posters, t-shirts, and electronic signboards.
Her politically and emotionally-charged work explores power relationships, war, sex, death, and human anxiety. This bench was part of a series featuring especially dark texts, which Holzer likened to “things that crawl out from under a rock.”