“The space, and the sky, and the sun just knocked me out...it was a very special experience where I felt that my inside and the outside were identical, somehow. I had been carrying this landscape within me, and suddenly there it was, without. When I came back to New York I was never the same person again.”
Nancy Holt (1938–014) wrote these words in 1968 after the first trip she made to the desert of the American West, a formative experience that would have a major impact on her artistic practice over the following decades. Holt began working as an artist in 1966, starting with concrete poetry. She described: “n these word structures are my concerns with site and geography; voidness; cyclical time; and repeats and doubles.”In 1967 her poetry moved from text to image and from the page to the landscape, expanding to explore the materiality of sound, voice, light, and space. Before making her first artworks Holt trained as a biologist, an interest that can be seen in the ways her artistic practice connects art and science and examines interrelations between built and natural environments.
International ongoing exhibitions
Holt’ work reveals an ecology of interconnectivity: she links trees and people, the breathing structures of buildings and bodies, light and planetary constellations, location and the cardinal points. In her film, video, photography, drawings, sculptures, earthworks, and room-
The provocations of “nside and outside”are present throughout the five decades of Holt’ artistic production. She observes and unravels these perceptual demarcations in buildings and in society at large, asking questions of what remains open and exposed in the exterior, and what remains concealed inside, out of sight. Her spatial and visual poetry invites us to recognize the hidden systems that structure our ways of experiencing and perceiving the world.
Holt is a figure frequently linked to the Earth, Land and Conceptual Art movements, yet she is much less recognized than her male peers, a situation this exhibition strives to correct. Her preference was to remain outside of art historical categories, and instead be identified as a “erception artist.”Holt’ work constitutes an invitation to pause, attentively observe, and reflect on the concrete world in transformation.
The exhibition Nancy Holt: Inside Outside stems from a collaboration between Holt/Smithson Foundation and Bildmuseet in Umeå, Sweden, where it was first presented. The MACBA presentation expands the scope of the survey, including six additional pieces: Tour of the John Weber Gallery (1972), Underscan (1974), Ransacked (1980) and Holes of Light (1973), as well as documentary material from the site-
The MACBA exhibition is accompanied by a detailed catalogue offering a comprehensive overview of this remarkable artist. It includes essays by the curators, Teresa Grandas, Lisa Le Feuvre and Katarina Pierre, texts by MACBA director Elvira Dyangani Ose, Karen Di Franco, and James Nisbet, as well as a selection of previously unpublished texts by the artist herself, detailed insights into the pieces on display and an extensive biography. This is the first major publication on her work in Spanish.
Curators: Teresa Grandas, Lisa Le Feuvre and Katarina Pierre
Exhibition 13 Juli 2023 -
Nancy Holt, Pine Barrens (still), 1975. © Holt/Smithson Foundation. Licensed by Artists Rights Society, New York. © Holt/Smithson Foundation / ARS, NY / VEGAP
© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2023. All Rights Reserved