Nancy Holt: Circles of Light

Experiments with Sound, Image, Objects 1966–1986

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Project description

In a tribute to Nancy Holt (1938–2014), an American land art, concept and video artist, the Gropius Bau in Berlin plans to stage Germany’s largest survey exhibition on Holt’s multifaceted oeuvre. The exhibition will include Holt’s film, video art, photography, drawings, concrete poetry, audio works, sculptures and large-scale room installations.

After completing her studies in biology in Boston, Holt moved to New York in 1960 where she became part of an artistic scene that produced films, videos, installations and sound art. Holt, whose artistic works demonstrated an innovative and site-specific use of media very early on, played a decisive role in the development of land art. Although recognised as a leading figure in the earth, land and concept art movement, Holt still receives far less attention for her accomplishments than her male counterparts.

Early in her career, Nancy Holt established a direct link between art and environmental activism. As one of the first woman artists in the land art scene, she created works using astronomical observations and embedded sculptures into landscapes to reflect on natural phenomena like the summer and winter solstices. Her “Sun Tunnels” (1979) consist of four colossal pipes which capture and focus the viewer’s attention to the sun during sunrise and sunset. The centrepiece of the exhibition at the Gropius Bau is her “Electrical System” from 1982, an intricate web of bent metal pipes and lightbulbs installed in the museum’s atrium which seemingly blurs the boundaries between the inside and outside. The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive event and educational programme and film series.

Artistic director: Jenny Schlenzka
Curator: Clara Meister with Lisa Le Feuvre
Artist: Nancy Holt
Exhibition: Gropius Bau, Berlin: 21 Mar. –14 Jul. 2024 (tbc)


Gropius Bau

Berliner Festspiele
Schaperstraße 24
10719 Berlin (external link, opens in a new window)