Jenny Holzer Truisms Analysis

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In a time when people are often exposed to deceptive practices facilitated by the anonymity and impulsiveness of the internet, Jenny Holzer presents her work featuring an extensive list of truisms which addresses an equally extensive range of topics. While at face value, the work could be dismissed as a simple series of rhetoric, the sophistication in Jenny Holzer’s truisms as art manifests from its presentation and methodology. Holzer maintains a delicate balance between chaos and continuity and another between truth and untruth throughout the piece via her use of repetition, punctuation, and logic. Repetition as one of Holzer’s main devices develops the sense of an endless stream of truisms, even though her work is finite. A key aspect of the use of repetition is that each of the 253 truisms is unique, albeit the occasional overlap in subject matter. This contributes to the effect of her art feeling like more like a continual flow of truisms; had some statements been repeated, there would have…show more content…
With the previous analysis of methodology in mind, analyzing the truisms brings some interesting observations. It is easy to take the truisms for granted, as truisms aim to state the truth with a certain blatancy, but truisms are not quite the same as the truth. The meaning behind Holzer’s truisms fall apart when analyzing their validity. Many of the truisms presented could be viewed as self-evident, while others might be argued, and a select few may even be self-contradictory. Take for example, “it’s not good to hold too many absolutes,” ironically, this truism itself an absolute. Another example, “it’s not good to operate on credit,” could easily be argued otherwise. When these kinds of statements with logical flaws are scattered within the exhaustive list of truisms, the meaning behind all the statements begins to fall
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