Fragments of Barbara Kruger’s installation Past/present/future from the exhibition Taking Place at The Temporary Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam.
Barbara Kruger’s work with pictures and words addresses mass culture’s representations of power, identity and sexuality. As she has stated, “I work with pictures and words because they have the ability to determine who we are, what we want to be and what we become.” The range of Kruger’s works is broad—from photographic prints on paper and vinyl to videos, room-size installations, public commissions, printed matter, and a variety of merchandise. Using the language of direct address and words like “you,” “me,” “we,” and “they,” her works reach out into the social space of the spectator. In this installation, designed especially for the building’s largest gallery known as the Hall of Honor, Kruger wraps the floor and walls with printed texts that “speak” directly and loudly to the spectator in a chorus of voices. Her provocative, emotionally charged statements about how people regard and treat each other disrupt the decorum of a traditional museum space. Bringing the world into her work and her work into the world, she confronts stereotypes and clichés, shattering them with a rigorous critique, a generous empathy and a sharp wit. (edit from the Temporary Stedelijk museum’s website).