As Europe’s museums and galleries trickled again to life post-lockdown, the final two years of Venice tradition have been, comparatively, a deluge. Because the Biennale of Structure opened its doorways for the primary time in two years, the floating metropolis’s wealth of cultural establishments adopted swimsuit with a stunning 57th Venice Biennale earlier this 12 months.
A spotlight all through each got here from the Pinault Assortment’s Punta della Dogana, simply throughout the Grand Canal from St Mark’s Sq., which inaugurated a brand new present devoted to American up to date artist Bruce Nauman – his first main exhibition in Venice since profitable the Biennale’s Golden Lion in 2009.
Titled ‘Bruce Nauman: Contrapposto Research’ (and now in its closing week) the exhibition weaves its manner throughout disparate eras of the prolific artist’s profession, focusing largely on Nauman’s work with sound and efficiency.
‘It’s a present with practically no objects,’ says Pinault Assortment curator Caroline Bourgeois, who, alongside Carlos Basualdo, senior curator of up to date artwork on the Philadelphia Museum of Artwork, is liable for bringing the works to Venice. ‘It’s simply sound that takes you thru. It’s an experiment as a result of Bruce has at all times accomplished experiments.’
Although it’s not strictly a retrospective, very like the artist’s main Tate Fashionable present in 2020, the exhibition, which runs till November 2022, circles a number of themes Nauman has persistently returned to in his follow: the physique; sound as medium; and the studio as a inventive area. Certainly, the breadth of labor on present illustrates Nauman’s dedication to exploring the infinite potential of a single concept. From his early video work – Bouncing within the Nook, No. 1 (1968), Gradual Angle Stroll (Beckett Stroll) (1968) – to sound items just like the stilted piano plonking of For Freshmen (instructed piano) (2010), and Untitled efficiency from 1969, during which actors stand, lie or crouch immobile on the gallery ground.
As a guideline, all items dropped at Punta della Dogana had been chosen for his or her relationship to a single foundational work, Nauman’s 1968 video piece Stroll with Contrapposto, during which he traverses a slim hall, palms clasped behind his head, jutting out his hips and posing with every step. The movie is black and white, grainy and shot from above at an angle, distorting and obscuring his determine as he travels backwards and forwards. (Contrapposto, or counterpoise, refers back to the widespread statuary stance – assume: the jaunty pose of Michelangelo’s David.) ‘I believe the stress between who we predict we’re, how we signify ourselves and the way we really feel we’re is basically what the present is about,’ Basualdo says.
Within the 2010s, Nauman revisited Stroll with Contrapposto, creating a brand new sequence based mostly on the identical repetitive actions, although, this time, aided by advances in expertise. His Contrapposto Research, I by means of VII (2015/2016), first proven on the Philadelphia Museum of Artwork in 2017 and now projected bigger than life onto Punta della Dogana’s partitions, present the artist strolling in the identical straight line. Within the up to date model, the feed is full color and crisp, every picture cut up into seven sections and repeated 14 separate occasions, an allusion to Da Vinci’s theories of proportion.
Later within the exhibition, the train is recreated in 3D; viewers are invited to take a seat on a bench sporting the requisite glasses as Nauman walks in the direction of them, activates his heel, and returns. One of many extra attention-grabbing facets of the exhibition is seeing first-hand the continuity of Nauman’s concepts as his personal bodily situations change: swapping a primitive camcorder for a high-definition digital camera; how in another way his physique strikes with age. ‘What one can find within the exhibition is an artist who, with terribly grateful simplicity, gives you a chance to consider your individual physique within the area and your self inside your physique’, provides Basualdo.
For his newest piece, Nature Morte (2020), proven for the primary time in Europe at Punta della Dogana, Nauman utilised 3D-mapping expertise to create a digital mannequin of his personal workspace. Guests can pinch and scroll on an iPad, zooming into half-finished works, posters and muddle strewn on the ground. It’s a becoming finale to the present, significantly following a 12 months during which Nauman himself was not capable of journey, permitting guests to step into his New Mexico studio all the way in which from the banks of Venice’s Grand Canal.
‘Bruce Nauman: Contrapposto Research’, till 27 November 2022, Palazzo Grassi – Punta della Dogana, palazzograssi.it