Elephant and Artsy have come together to present This Artwork Changed My Life, a creative collaboration that shares the stories of life-changing encounters with art. A new piece will be published every two weeks on both Elephant and Artsy. Together, our publications want to celebrate the personal and transformative power of art.
When I first encountered ’s
“Inflammatory Essays” (1979–82) pasted across the corridors of Tate Modern
in London last year, I nearly mistook them for a poster display.
I was still studying at university and, while wandering around the museum to get inspiration for an art history essay, I almost walked straight past Holzer’s brightly colored texts. Filled with statements about disaster, fear, and other provocative subjects, they seemed to have little relevance to my life at the time.
As I began to spend more time with the work, one of Holzer’s texts
stood out in particular for its closing line: “The apocalypse will blossom.” Little did I know that seeing this statement a year on during a global pandemic would feel so close to home.
Now, even if I wanted to go and wander around the Tate and gaze at Holzer’s essays in person, I can’t, because London is on lockdown due to the outbreak of COVID-19. I am currently in my fifth week of self-isolation and, like countless others around the world, I’ve had to rethink my day to day.