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Jenny Holzer | Like Beauty in Flames

Bilbao, May 2021

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01. Challenge - Pushing the boundaries of art


In Spring 2021, conceptual artist Jenny Holzer and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao collaborated with Holition to showcase Holzer’s signature text-based art, now reimagined through the medium of augmented reality technology.

Jenny Holzer Bilbao

Photo: Erika Ede


Augmented Reality app

Text: “A Soldier Says” from Building the Barricade by Anna Świrszczyńska, English translation by Piotr Florczyk, © 2016 by the translator. Used with permission of Ludmiła Adamska-Orłowska and the translator; “Galdeketa” from Azalaren kodea by Miren Agur Meabe, © 2000 by the author. Used with permission of the author; “Marca de nacimiento” from Santo y seña by Pura López Colomé, © 2007 by the author. Used with permission of the author. 

Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa, Spain

© 2021 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Photo: Erika Ede

02. Solution - Technology in the service of art


Made exclusively for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao’s collection, we created a standalone mobile application which uses immersive technologies to deliver three distinct AR experiences.


LIKE BEAUTY IN FLAMES features texts by other authors selected by Holzer, including the app’s title, which is borrowed from Polish poet Anna Świrszczyńska’s poem “Beauty Dies.”

Jenny Holzer Portfolio

LIKE BEAUTY IN FLAMES is a continuation of what Holzer does best: placing thought-provoking texts in the public sphere in a democratic and accessible way.


Photo: Erika Ede

jh ar


Augmented Reality app

Text: Truisms, 1977–79

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

© 2021 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Photo: Erika Ede

Inside the Guggenheim Bilbao, an AR version of one of Holzer’s signature LED signs glides through the museum’s central atrium, the column bending and spiraling as Truisms in English, Spanish, Basque, and French scroll past. Each of the museum’s three floors provides a different experience, as the LED’s interaction with the building’s architecture shifts depending on one’s vantage point.


Outside, AR projections appear on the museum’s facade from five locations around the campus in a virtual echo of the artist’s monumental 2019 work For Bilbao.


The third AR experience gives app users unrestricted access to Jenny’s work from anywhere in the world, beautifully encapsulating Jenny’s mastery of placing language in unexpected spaces to spark reflection and contemplation.

beauty in flames app

jh render

03. Insight - Reimagining the future of art


Harnessing augmented reality, advanced image recognition technology, 3D spatial positioning and cutting-edge graphics features, users are able to see the AR version of the LED sign move through the museum’s atrium. 


They can also see a recreation of Holzer’s nighttime projections, facilitated by their mobile devices’ GPS and gyroscope features, which direct them to various points around the outside of the museum. 


Combining digital technologies with the real world, this innovative mobile app developed by Holition brings Holzer’s practice directly to users’ own mobile devices.

Jenny Holzer Holition testimonial

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