Tutta la verità (The Whole Truth), an exhibition of Jenny Holzer’s work at the Palazzo della Ragione in Bergamo curated by GAMeC Director Lorenzo Giusti, will open to the public on 30 May. It marks the return to Italy of one of the most highly acclaimed and influential artists on the international scene.

Holzer’s work employs the written word as a means of critical reflection and creative expression. In the late 1970s, her Truisms caused a stir, challenging stereotypes about art and society while prefiguring communication methods and strategies now widely deployed in guerrilla marketing. Initially featured on everyday objects – such as street posters, T-shirts, condom wrappers, and baseball caps – these early texts were written to resemble existing aphorisms, maxims, and clichés. Holzer went on to write a number of other text series and later began using the words of others, often in large or more permanent formats including electronic signs, stone benches, and light projections on natural and architectural surfaces, as well as oil paintings and watercolours.

The texts in these works speak of violence, oppression, gender, sexuality, power, war, and death. In Holzer’s art, modes of presentation more often associated with institutional information, news, and advertising become a powerful tool to address political and social issues. She uses language to challenge social norms, prejudices, and violence. The immediacy of Holzer’s message is a weapon against the mystification of reality, as implemented on a daily basis by media organisations, government agencies, and advertisers who engage in the banalisation of language.

The exhibition organised by the GAMeC in Bergamo’s historical Palazzo della Ragione comes only two months after the opening of the artist’s major retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Tutta la verità establishes a dialogue between the stately medieval building, with its grand architectural elements and frescoes, and the subversive poetics of the American artist.

The walls of the Sala delle Capriate, a symbolic place where historically local justice was administered, will provide the backdrop for a series of new light projections. The texts chosen by Holzer for this special occasion will touch on important themes in her work– identity, gender, and dialogue – and in particular will address the
ongoing migrant crisis. The authors whose words are featured in the projections include Alemu Tebeje Ayele, Antar Mohamed Marincola, Armin Gorozian, Arnold de Vos, Dunya Mikhail, Faraj Bayrakdar, Fatiha Kamel, Ghayath Almadhoun, Gëzim Hajdari, Hasan Al Nassar, Khawla Dunia, Mahmoud Darwish, Mihai Mircea Butcovan, Mohammad-Reza Shafiei Kadkani, Mohja Kahf, Najat Abdul Samad, Omid Shams, Osama Alomar, Sham al-Sa’id, Siza Gorozian, Wisława Szymborska, Yehuda Amichai, Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, and Zein Abdullah.

The exhibition also draws on poems and other texts by Italian writers, including Patrizia Cavalli and Pier Paolo Pasolini, as well as authors from other national contexts, such as Wisława Szymborska, Anna Świrszczyńska, and James Schuyler.

An integral part of the installation will be nine marble benches produced for the occasion thanks to the generous support of the Fondazione Henraux. Placed in a circle, the artworks will provide a place to pause and reflect on both the illuminated walls and the sentences carved into the surfaces of the benches themselves.

BIOGRAPHY
Jenny Holzer was born in Gallipolis, Ohio. Her works can be found in some of the most important museum collections in the world, including those of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Tate in London.
Holzer represented the United States in 1990 at the Venice Biennale, where she was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Pavilion. She has been honoured with many other awards, including the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award in 1996, the U.S. Department of State’s International Medal of Arts in 2017, and a 2018 Global Fine Art Award for her exhibition SOFTER: Jenny Holzer at Blenheim Palace.

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Texts included in ALTRA GENTE, 2019 (digital projections in the Sala delle Capriate):

“The Details” from Adrenalin by Ghayath Almadhoun, English translation by Catherine Cobham, © 2017 by the author and the translator. Used with permission of the author and the translator.

“How I Became…” from Adrenalin by Ghayath Almadhoun, English translation by Catherine Cobham, © 2017 by the author and the translator. Used with permission of the author and the translator.

“I Can’t Attend” from Adrenalin by Ghayath Almadhoun, English translation by Catherine Cobham, © 2017 by the author and the translator. Used with permission of the author and the translator.

“Massacre” from Adrenalin by Ghayath Almadhoun, English translation by Catherine Cobham, © 2017 by the author and the translator. Used with permission of the author and the translator.

“We” from Adrenalin by Ghayath Almadhoun, English translation by Catherine Cobham, © 2017 by the author and the translator. Used with permission of the author and the translator.

“The Beautiful Face” from The Teeth of the Comb & Other Stories by Osama Alomar, English translation by the author and C. J. Collins, © 2017 by the author and the translator. Used with permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

“I’ve Already Been Weaned” from The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai, English translation by Chana Bloch and Stephen Mitchell, © 2013 by the Regents of the University of California. Used with permission of the University of California Press.

“Songs of Continuity” from The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai, English translation by Chana Bloch and Stephen Mitchell, © 2013 by the Regents of the University of California. Used with permission of the University of California Press.

“Greetings to the People of Europe!” by Alemu Tebeje Ayele, English translation by Chris Beckett and the author, © 2016 by the translators, from Modern Poetry in Translation, no. 1/2016. Used with permission of the author and the translator.

“Cooing” by Faraj Bayrakdar, © 1987 by the author. English translation by the New York Translation Collective, © 2005 by the translators, from Words without Borders, June 2005. Used with permission of the author and the publisher.

“Mirrors of Absence” by Faraj Bayrakdar, © 2000 by the author. English translation by Sinan Antoon, © 2007 by the translator, from Writers Under Siege. Used with permission of the author and the translator.

“The Rose and My Friend, Somehow” by Faraj Bayrakdar, © 1981 by the author. English translation by Fawaz Azem, © 2016 by the translator, from Al Jadid, no. 71. Used with permission of the author and the translator.

“Visit” by Faraj Bayrakdar, © 1993 by the author. English translation by Rebecca C. Johnson, © 2006 by the author and the translator, from Beyond Bars, 2010. Used with permission of the author and the translator.

“L’ospite” by Mihai Mircea Butcovan, © 2006 by the author, from A New Map, 2011. Used with permission of the author.

“Who Am I, without Exile?” from Unfortunately, It Was Paradise by Mahmoud Darwish, English translation by Munir Akash and Carolyn Forche, © 2013 by the Regents of the University of California. Used with permission of the University of California Press.

“Breaking News” (unpublished) by Khawla Dunia, © 2012 by the author. English translation by Mohja Kahf, © 2017 by the translator. Used with permission of the author and the translator.

“Sniper” by Khawla Dunia, © 2012 by the author. English translation by Mohja Kahf, © 2015 by the translator, from the Los Angeles Times website, October 26, 2015. Used with permission of the author and the translator.

“Luna” by Gëzim Hajdari, © 2001 by the author, from A New Map, 2011. Used with permission of the author.

“The Cherries” from E-mails from Scheherazad by Mohja Kahf, © 2003 by the author. Used with permission of the author and the University Press of Florida.

“Ishtar Awakens in Chicago” from E-mails from Scheherazad by Mohja Kahf, © 2003 by the author. Used with the permission of the author and the University Press of Florida.

“My Body Is Not Your Battleground” from E-mails from Scheherazad by Mohja Kahf, © 2003 by the author. Used with permission of the author and the University Press of Florida.

“The Threshold” from Hagar Poems by Mohja Kahf, © 2016 by the author. Used with permission of the author.

“The Water of Hajar” from Hagar Poems by Mohja Kahf, © 2016 by the author. Used with permission of the author.

“Il Druido di Dublino” by Antar Mohamed Marincola, © 2013 by Qudulibri, from 100 mila poeti per il cambiamento. Used with permission of the publisher.

“Behind the Glass” from The War Works Hard by Dunya Mikhail, English translation by Elizabeth Winslow, © 2005 by the author and the translator. Used with permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

“I Was in a Hurry” from The War Works Hard by Dunya Mikhail, English translation by Elizabeth Winslow, © 2005 by the author and the translator. Used with permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

“Pronouns” from The War Works Hard by Dunya Mikhail, English translation by Elizabeth Winslow, © 2005 by the author and the translator. Used with permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

“The War Works Hard” from The War Works Hard by Dunya Mikhail, English translation by Elizabeth Winslow, © 2005 by the author and the translator. Used with permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

“Orci ricolmi” by Hasan Al Nassar, © 2006 by the author, from A New Map, 2011. Used with permission of Mia Lecomte.

“If this is my face, so be it” by Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, English translation by the author, © 2016 by the author, from Modern Poetry in Translation, no. 1/2016. Used with permission of the author.

“When I Am Overcome by Weakness” by Najat Abdul Samad, English translation by Ghada Alatrash, © 2013 by the author and the translator, from the Studio 360 website, October 12, 2013. Used with permission of the author and the translator.

“In These Nights” by Mohammad-Reza Shafiei Kadkani, © 1968 by the author, from Uzunburun by Sassan Tabatabai. English translation by Sassan Tabatabai, © 2011 by the author and the translator. Used with permission of the translator.

“Migration of Violets” by Mohammad-Reza Shafiei Kadkani, © 1968 by the author, from Uzunburun by Sassan Tabatabai. English translation by Sassan Tabatabai, © 2011 by the author and the translator. Used with permission of the translator.

“Don’t Be Afraid” (unpublished) by Omid Shams, © 2018 by the author. Used with permission of the author.

“One day we all will forgive the gods” (unpublished) by Omid Shams, © 2017 by the author. Used with permission of the author.

“Our hollow father in holy hypermarkets” (unpublished) by Omid Shams, © 2017 by the author. Used with permission of the author.

“Song of Persia” by Omid Shams, © 2009 by the author, from Dah daqīqah bah noh (blog), July 2, 2009. Used with permission of the author.

“Addio a una vista” from La gioia di scrivere by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. Italian translation by Laura Rescio, © 2009 by Wisława Szymborska and Adelphi Edizioni. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

“Elenco” from La gioia di scrivere by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. Italian translation by Laura Rescio, © 2009 by Wisława Szymborska and Adelphi Edizioni. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

“Figli dell’epoca” from La gioia di scrivere by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. Italian translation by Laura Rescio, © 2009 by Wisława Szymborska and Adelphi Edizioni. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

“Gente” from La gioia di scrivere by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. Italian translation by Laura Rescio, © 2009 by Wisława Szymborska and Adelphi Edizioni. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

“Il terrorista, lui guarda” from La gioia di scrivere by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. Italian translation by Laura Rescio, © 2009 by Wisława Szymborska and Adelphi Edizioni. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

“In lode di mia sorella” from La gioia di scrivere by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. Italian translation by Laura Rescio, © 2009 by Wisława Szymborska and Adelphi Edizioni. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

“La fine e l’inizio” from La gioia di scrivere by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. Italian translation by Laura Rescio, © 2009 by Wisława Szymborska and Adelphi Edizioni. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

“La gioia di scrivere” from La gioia di scrivere by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. Italian translation by Laura Rescio, © 2009 by Wisława Szymborska and Adelphi Edizioni. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

“Lode della cattiva considerazione di sé” from La gioia di scrivere by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. Italian translation by Laura Rescio, © 2009 by Wisława Szymborska and Adelphi Edizioni. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

“Ogni caso” from La gioia di scrivere by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. Italian translation by Laura Rescio, © 2009 by Wisława Szymborska and Adelphi Edizioni. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

“Torture” from La gioia di scrivere by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. Italian translation by Laura Rescio, © 2009 by Wisława Szymborska and Adelphi Edizioni. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

“Un appunto” from La gioia di scrivere by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. Italian translation by Laura Rescio, © 2009 by Wisława Szymborska and Adelphi Edizioni. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

Zein Abdullah quoted in A Postcard from Aleppo by Issa Touma, © 2015 by the author. Used with permission of the author.

Armin Gorozian quoted in A Postcard from Aleppo by Issa Touma, © 2015 by the author. Used with permission of the author.

Siza Gorozian quoted in A Postcard from Aleppo by Issa Touma, © 2015 by the author. Used with permission of the author.

Fatiha Kamel quoted in A Postcard from Aleppo by Issa Touma, © 2015 by the author. Used with permission of the author.

Sham al-Sa’id quoted in A Postcard from Aleppo by Issa Touma, © 2015 by the author. Used with permission of the author.

“Del benessere, se Dio vuole” by Arnold de Vos, © 2006 by the author, from A New Map, 2011. Used with permission of Mia Lecomte.

“Una storia antica” by Arnold de Vos, © 2006 by the author, from A New Map, 2011. Used with permission of Mia Lecomte.

Phrases carved into the nine marble benches in the Sala delle Capriate:

BORN, 2019
Text: “Thing Indescribable” from Talking to My Body by Anna Świrszczyńska, English translation by Czesław Miłosz and Leonard Nathan, © 1996 by the translators. Used with permission of Ludmiła Adamska-Orłowska, the Wylie Agency LLC, and Andrew Nathan.

THOUGHT, 2019
Text: “Miracle Fair” from Map: Collected and Last Poems by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. English translation by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh, © 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

AMAZEMENT, 2019
Text: “Among the Multitudes” from Map: Collected and Last Poems by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. English translation by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh, © 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

LA GIOIA, 2019
Text: “La gioia di scrivere” from La gioia di scrivere by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. Italian translation by Pietro Marchesani, © 2009 by Wisława Szymborska and Adelphi Edizioni. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

IN FUGA, 2019
Text: “Gente” from La gioia di scrivere by Wisława Szymborska, © 1993 by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation, www.szymborska.org.pl. Italian translation by Pietro Marchesani, © 2009 by Wisława Szymborska and Adelphi Edizioni. Used with permission of the publisher and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

DORMO, 2019
Text: “Essere animale per la grazia” from Pigre divinità e pigra sorte by Patrizia Cavalli, © 2006 by Giulio Einaudi Editore. Used with permission of the author and the publisher.

LA COSCIENZA, 2019
Text: “Lavoro tutto il giorno come un monaco” from Poesia in forma di rosa by Pier Paolo Pasolini, © 1964 by the author. Used with permission of Garzanti S.r.l.

JUST YOU, 2019
Text: “Letter Poem #3” from Collected Poems by James Schuyler, © 1993 by the author’s estate. Used with permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

OUR HOME,  2019
Text: “Letter Poem #3” from Collected Poems by James Schuyler, © 1993 by the author’s estate. Used with permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.