Home » Exhibitions » Exhibition Review: Bruce Nauman at Tate Modern from 7 October 2020 to 21 February 2021

Exhibition Review: Bruce Nauman at Tate Modern from 7 October 2020 to 21 February 2021

Tate Modern presents the first exhibition to show the full breadth of work by Bruce Nauman in London for more than 20 years. Nauman’s body of work encompasses a range of media including sculpture, sound, film, video and neon.

Since the late 1960s, Nauman has been known for inventing new ways to tell his narratives. He is now widely recognised as one of the most innovative and influential artists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The exhibition features more than 40 works, the exhibition explores a number of themes that have preoccupied Nauman during his 50-year career.

The exhibition begins with MAPPING THE STUDIO II with color shift, flip, flop & flip/flop (Fat Chance John Cage) 2001, a major moving-image installation .

A selection of early and iconic artworks such as Henry Moore Bound to Fail 1967/70 and A Cast of the Space Under My Chair 1965/68 highlights Nauman’s interest in conceptual art and performance.

Nauman has created several neon signs that combine text and colour to reveal everyday phrases and expressions. Some examples in the exhibition include The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truth (Window or Wall Sign) 1967, Human Nature Knows/Doesn’t Know 1983/86 and One Hundred Live and Die 1984.

Large-scale works such as Going Around the Corner Piece with Live and Taped Monitors 1970 and Double Steel Cage Piece 1974 reflect Nauman’s interest in surveillance and over zealous societal control.

These themes continue in the whole-room installation Shadow Puppets and Instructed Mime 1990 in which suspended wax heads, sound and video, provide a backdrop as a disembodied male voice gives commands to a female mime projected onto the walls.

Anthro/Socio (Rinde Spinning) 1992 reveals how Nauman consistently challenges the conventions of the gallery experience and confronts viewers directly.

Black Marble Under Yellow Light 1981/1988 illustrates how Nauman explores space and light.

Falls, Pratfalls and Sleights of Hand (Clean Version) 1993, the final room in the show, illustrates how themes of human perception have inspired Nauman throughout his career.

This imaginative exhibition provides plenty of evidence of how Nauman was one of the early artists to explore some of the effects of the digital revolution and how it would affect our perception of our physical and psychological place in the world. Many of the installations present an unnerving view of the future where humans are almost a ghost in the machine desperate to be heard but forever being distorted.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Recommended

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Tate Modern website here

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