Bruce Nauman

  • Bruce Nauman is a contemporary American artist. He uses sculpture, photography, neon, video, drawing, printmaking and performance.
  • Works included filming his room at night, sexually explicit neon signs and a floating empty room.
  • He aims to explores what art can be, and constantly questions this.
  • He believes that as long as he is an artist in his studio, whatever he is doing is the art
  • He conceptually challenges everyday, by using mundane activities but making them noticable
  • He began to introduce more interactive work in the form of corridors, viewers could be filmed as they walked along the corridors just as he had done, thus repeating his original performance and playing it back to them.
  • Later in his career his work took a much darker tone. He produced a video showing domestic violence, and a macabre carousel of taxidermist models
  • Nauman wanted his work to be “the same as getting hit in the face with a baseball bat, or better still, hit in the back of the neck” As such he created some pieces that were Intrusive and disturbing to the viewers. (videos of a loud singer, shouting, clown etc.)


I think Nauman is innovative in his approach to art. His pieces reflect a deep internal consideration of the forms that art can take, and over the course of his artistic career he experimented with many forms of art. His attitude appears to consider that as an artist, whatever he creates is his art, be it a  complex sculpture, or a simple repetition of a mundane action. I also think that Nauman has evolved his work to keep up with the uses of technology and media. I like that he has explored a number of media uses in his pieces, such as sound, video and neon signage. I believe this use of media forms gives Nauman’s work a modern edge, and helps him to achieve the impact he wants to create. His work can be very dark, and is ultimately designed to have a marked instinctual effect on the viewer. I feel that Nauman is very successful in his aim to create work that has a huge impact upon those who experience it. Overall, I think Nauman uses his work to pose and resolve a number of important artistic questions. This gives the pieces a sense of purpose, which I feel makes them more interesting to me.

I chose this image to represent Nauman's work for a number of reasons. Firstly, it speaks to me of experimentation, which I feel is important to his work. I also think it represents the many forms his work can take, and the achievement of his creative visions. Finally, I feel that this image could allude to genetic experimentation and playing God, which I feel shares a connection with the dark and disturbing nature of a number of Nauman's pieces.


About Abi Britton

Creative Events student from Kent.
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