Portrait of Jenny Holzer
Jenny Holzer

Cliff Sappho

– I’d like to explore the centuries of man on the site so that one can read the history on its surface, with language becoming part of the park’s skin.

The American artist Jenny Holzer (born 1950) works with words in public space. She has become renowned for her light installations that project writing onto landscapes and buildings. She has worked with stone benches engraved with text since the 1980's. Her penchant for memorials led her to choose enduring materials, such as marble and granite in addition to light and electronics.

For Cliff Sappho in Ekeberg Park she chose to use the location itself as a medium for the text. By carving quotes by the Greek classic poetess Sappho into rock protrusions in the hill she makes the park's timelessness manifest. “I needed a text that has withstood time and echoes both intelligence and beauty,” she says. Sappho's poetry complements the place, but does not force itself upon it.

The texts for Cliff Sappho have been translated by professor Anne Carson, an acclaimed scholar of Classics. Holzer and Carson collaborated in picking and placing the text fragments that make out this work of art.

Cliff Sappho, 2013.

© Jenny Holzer / BONO

Foto: © Ivar Kvaal/Ekebergparken