Sperone Westwater is pleased to present three new unique sculptures by Bruce Nauman, his thirteenth solo at the gallery, his first 45 years ago in 1976. Since the late 1960s, Nauman has consistently questioned what an artwork is, adopting a wide range of diverse mediums, including his own body, language, sound, film, video, neon, holograms and 3D technology. His practice has expanded the traditional boundaries of art-making, reflecting the perceptions, preconceptions and contradictions which characterize our existence in the world. Beginning 7 October, Tate Modern will host a Bruce Nauman survey which runs through February 2021 before it travels to the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan.
Walking a Line, 2019, references Nauman’s performances in his studio dating back to 1968-69, specifically Walk with Contrapposto, and the more recent Contrapposto Studies of 2015/2016. In Walking a Line, rather than placing his hands behind his head, he extends his arms out to the side horizontally and proceeds in a straight line like a tightrope walker trying to maintain his balance. The 3D projection is split horizontally with the timing of the two segments out of sync, creating the feeling of an even more tenuous balance. The resulting work addresses stability and a search for equilibrium in both the interior landscape of the body and its relationship to the external environment of the larger world.
The subject of Nature Morte, 2020, is Nauman’s studio, but not as it was seen in his series of four unique multi-projection videos, Mapping the Studio, 2001. Never before has he made so public the private space where he works. Three viewing stations, each consisting of an iPad linked to a wall-sized projection, provide an interactive exploration of the 3D studio space. Only now the artist is absent, and the participant becomes performer as he/she manipulates the large scale video projections on an iPad using touch control. The participant is free to navigate anywhere throughout the space, selecting broad vistas or individual objects. Using a hand-held 3D scanner, Nauman recorded hundreds of images that allow participants to select an object and locate close-up anything found there, and further reorient the image to see an object from above and below, and at times inside-out. The resulting mobility intensifies the experience of the viewer/performer.
With Two Leaping Foxes, 2018, Nauman returns to a series of animal sculptures using readily available polyurethane foam taxidermy forms begun in 1988. For this inverted hanging sculpture, he has stacked North American wild animals – caribou, deer and foxes – into an acrobatically topsy-turvy pyramid formation.
Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1941, Bruce Nauman received his BS from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, (1964) and his MFA from the University of California, Davis (1966). Since his first solo gallery show in 1966, Nauman has been the subject of many notable museum exhibitions, including a survey organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1972-73) and a survey at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London in collaboration with the Kunsthalle Basel and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1986-87). A major retrospective, co-organized by The Walker Art Center and the Hirshhorn Museum, opened at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, and travelled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Kunsthaus Zurich (1993-95). Other important solo exhibitions include “Raw Materials,” commissioned for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall (2004); “A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s” at the Berkeley Art Museum, Castello di Rivoli, and Menil Collection (2007-08); and “Bruce Nauman” at the Fondation Cartier (2015). “Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts,” a comprehensive retrospective, debuted at Schaulager, Basel (2018) and traveled to The Museum of Modern Art, New York and MoMA P.S.1 (2018-19). Nauman received the Wolf Foundation Prize in Arts in 1993, the Wexner Prize in 1994, the Golden Lion at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999, and the Praemium Imperiale in 2004 in Japan. Nauman represented the United States at the 2009 Venice Biennale; the pavilion was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation. Nauman was the 2014 laureate of the Austrian Frederick Kiesler Prize. Since his first exhibition at Sperone Westwater in 1976, Nauman has exhibited regularly at the gallery (1982, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1996, 2002, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2020).
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