The Bruce Nauman Exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, Paris

                                     Animal Pyramid, 1989

                                     Animal Pyramid, 1989

The American artist Bruce Nauman was born in Indiana in 1941. From MoMa to Deutsche Guggenheim and even the Venice Biennial, his work has travelled the world. As an artist, Nauman is known for his interdisciplinary approach to contemporary art and sculpture. Engaging with existential dichotomies like love and hate as well as pleasure and pain, he has worked across a diverse array of mediums. His fascination with conflicting positive and negative space is reflected in the exhibition's curation, with vast open space allowing for a fluid experience. 

The most arresting of the sculptures was Animal Pyramid, 1989, which was made from polyurethane foam, iron, wood and wire. It was visibly reminiscent of his previous work Carousel 1998. Made of seventeen taxidermy moulds it evokes consideration of the dichotomy of nature and sport. 

                                        Dead End Tunnel Folded into Four Arms with Common Walks 1980-1987

                                        Dead End Tunnel Folded into Four Arms with Common Walks 1980-1987

Juxtaposing the tower of taxidermy was Bruce's Dead End Tunnel Folded into Four Arms with Common Walks 1980-87, which was made from cast iron and steel and depicted a journey.  Across the room was Malice, 1980 which reflects the way in which he has exploited the 'ubiquity of modern signage' since the sixties. Luminous wordplay depicts the word Malice inverted, suggesting an imperviousness to cruelty. 

 

                                      Studies for Holograms, 1970

                                      Studies for Holograms, 1970

       The five photographic prints above show the complexity of the mediums within which Nauman was working. From holography to video installations, drawing and performance art, Nauman is certainly experimental. The contortions of the model's mouth hint at an underlying sexuality in areas of Nauman's work, which are better explored by having a flick through the accompanying catalogues.

 

        Audio Video piece for London, Ontario 1969-1970

        Audio Video piece for London, Ontario 1969-1970

In his Audio Video piece for London, Ontario 1969-1970, sensory perception is confused as he combines a close circuit television, camera and a hazy audio recording. Rhythmic sounds create a sense of intrigue as you wonder where the distinct patterns hail from. The image of the empty room on the screen creates a space for audience interaction and invites participation. There was something very Marina Abramovic about the scene.

 

As with every Gagosian exhibition, the art may be sparse, but the literature collection is exhaustive. Only a stone's throw from Le Grand Palais or the Musee D'Orsay, I would urge you to pop in and experience whatever eccentricites they've gathered for the summer months. 

 

Written by Flora Alexandra Ogilvy, founder of Arteviste