Bruce Nauman

text and image roberto voorbij

Neon artworks are either static and have a constant message or as in the case of Bruce Nauman’s neons in the exhibit Extended Drawing are time based and work like a simple animation. Next to the immediate perceptible message of every highlighted part causes the character of the medium that every image also communicates an in-active message. Looking at works as Sex and Death are you as a viewer constantly aware of this imminent action. Next to the eye catching contrast between bright colors, simple and smooth shapes and the violent and sexual content, forms this latent threat, this compulsive act another element which pushes the unavoidable, uncomfortable effect of Nauman’s work to an extreme.

The exhibition Extended Drawing at the Maastricht Bonnefanten museum, with works by  Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Bruce Nauman and Richard Serra runs until the 15th of January 2012.

Bruce Nauman – Sex and Death (1985).

Bruce Nauman – Sex and Death (1985).

Bruce Nauman – Sex and Death (1985).

Bruce Nauman – Beating with baseball bat (1986).

“Instead of organizing a formalized plan with violence as theme, it seemed more interesting to take the idea and just go with it. With the figure neons, the timing sequence is very important – it becomes violent. The pace and the repetition make it hard to see the figures, and although the figures are literally engaged with violent acts, the colors are pretty – so the confusion and dichotomy of what is going on are important too.
Please, pay attention, please; Bruce Nauman’s words, p.374 (Talking with BN, Christopher Cordes, 1989).

“I still get tired of working on one idea, in one medium, for too extended a period and, in that sense, I divert myself by moving to something else.”
Brenda Richardson, Bruce Nauman Neons, Baltimore Museum of Art, 1982, p.29.


About The Bleeding Tomato

The Bleeding Tomato is the online sketch book of Roberto Voorbij - Visual / 3D Artist. A place for his spin-offs, new ideas, personal frustrations and fascinations. Blogging about art, sociology, technique, marketing and more…
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