Monday, 19 October 2009

Bruce Nauman

Much of Bruce Nauman's work is characterized by an interest in language, often manifesting itself in a playful, mischievous manner. For example, the neon Run From Fear- Fun From Rear, or the photograph Bound To Fail, which literalizes the title phrase and shows the artist's arms tied behind his back. There are however, very serious concerns at the heart of Nauman's practice. He seems to be fascinated by the nature of communication and language's inherent problems, as well as the role of the artist as supposed communicator and manipulator of visual symbols.
Nauman also cites Ludwig Wittgenstein as one of his influences.

South America Triangle and Diamond Africa are variations on a theme, loaded with abstractions that hint at sinister, totalitarian behavior. In both sculptures steel I-beams create small, harsh, spare, controlled and controlling spaces. Both feature upside-down chairs hanging in the middle of the I-beam structure, references to a person who is lost, trapped, and tortured -- or a stand-in for many lost, trapped and tortured people. All of the elements of Nauman's sculptures hang in mid-air, a metaphor for a nether-world that might be inhabited by cowed colonial subjects or post-colonial people ruled by a dictatorial or other kind of unjust regime.

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