Westwater is pleased to present a historical survey of installation
drawings by Bruce Nauman, who has just been selected to represent the
United States in the American Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale.
This is Nauman’s ninth solo exhibition with the gallery.
35 drawings are on view, and were created during a 40-year period
beginning in 1968. These works relate specifically to installations
that were conceptualized, and sometimes realized in the early part of
the artist’s career – a time when Nauman’s ideas were spreading into
multiple mediums including sculpture, performance, video, photography,
film, and sound. The subjects of these drawings include corridors, room
installations, diagrams for the positioning of blocks, underground
tunnels and shafts, and plans for multi-channel video projections.
his essay, “Projection and Displacement”, published in the exhibition’s
catalogue, Michael Auping, Chief Curator at the Modern Art Museum of
Fort Worth, writes:
Of all the
types of drawings Nauman has done for different mediums, his drawings
for installations are particularly interesting […because] they reveal,
perhaps more than any other type, how Nauman thinks his way not simply
into sculpture but into the peculiar kind of space his installations
Each of the drawings
on view retains a matter-of-fact formal quality. The simple,
straightforward character of these works underscores Nauman’s tendency
to present an idea in its essential form. Upon close examination, it is
evident that these drawings possess a conceptual quality that is as
equally powerful as the physically realized installations themselves.
These works give the viewer a glimpse into Nauman’s mind at work – how
the artist aims to measure, explore, and manipulate space, and how this
space interacts with the viewer’s psychological and physical being.
on view is "Cones Cojones" (1973–1975), Nauman’s seminal installation
combining drawing and poem/text. This work consists of masking tape on
the floor and two framed collages on the wall. According to Nauman, the
concentric circles of tape affixed to the floor represent a cut that
bisects a cone the apex of which begins at the center of the earth and
ultimately projects out to the universe. The two typewritten texts
provide insight into Nauman’s emotional, philosophical, and formal
intentions. In describing this important work, Nauman has stated that
“the tape on the floor becomes almost… a visual aid to the text. The
text is asking you to imagine a physical description, and the tape is
an illustration of where you’re supposed to be imagining it [the cone]
passes through the gallery.”
Nauman is widely regarded as among the most important living American
artists, and has influenced a generation of artists from around the
world. Over the past four decades, his work has employed forms that
range from Post-Minimalism and Conceptual art in mixed media including
film, video and sound. Nauman’s work has been exhibited in a number of
important gallery and museum exhibitions worldwide.