Tag Archives: barbara kruger

artpopulus :: barbara kruger video slideshow + quotes

Power is the most free-flowing element in society, maybe next to money, but in fact they both motor each other. And it’s everywhere. And it’s in this room right now, it’s at every dinner table, every board room, every bedroom … every social situation is rife with the consequences of power. And I feel compelled to address that, because it is the major constituent in determining what our lives feel like, what our every-days feel like, what our days and nights feel like.

Words are powerful, and we speak them every moment, so why not exercise that medium? But I’m really interested in questions more than answers. Everybody’s got answers, and I think it’s more generative and engaging for me to think about questions and to think about doubt. Not to the point that it becomes crippling and self-destructive, but it’s a definite balancing force. Power slices in lots of ways, you know. And it can deal with the inequities of money; it can deal with the inequities of color; it can deal with the inequities of gender. And how some voices have been unheard, and some faces unseen, and I’m interested in how that plays out in culture, and how it changes, and how that change changes culture, and how America is a different place now than it was thirty years ago because of those changes, and how those changes in fact become [of] global and not just national interest. But we’ve seen how the battles around difference, around sexuality, around color, around nationalism, are daily changing the character and the balance of power globally.

Pictures and words seem to become the rallying points for certain assumptions. There are assumptions of truth and falsity and I guess the narratives of falsity are called fictions. I replicate certain words and watch them stray from or coincide with the notions of fact and fiction to suggest changes, and to resist what I feel are the tyrannies of social life on a certain level.

barbara kruger :: past / present / future


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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).