The Embassy is pleased to announce its inaugural exhibition by American artist Bruce Nauman, which will be on view April 21–24th, 2016 to coincide with Art Brussels and Independent Brussels. Though Nauman’s significance arose in the 1960s, half a century later the artist remains a seminal force in art. The True Artist brings together four of his early conceptual film pieces in a rare solo presentation of the artist in Belgium, shown in the setting of a private residence.
Upon entering the space, viewers are enveloped by rhythmic flashes and irregular, lapping staccato schema. Monolithic televisions and a screen spread across the rooms to display four black-and-white single-channel works by Nauman. The early film explorations, Wall/Floor Positions, Bouncing in the Corner No 1, Revolving Upside Down, and Flesh to White to Black to Flesh, were all created in 1968 and focus on repeated sequences, corresponding to each title. Through the films, Nauman explores a futile attempt at mechanizing his body and testing the human endurance.
Loosely influenced by the choreography of Merce Cunningham and minimalist compositions of John Cage, this period marks Nauman’s departure from sculpture into Conceptual video, which he pioneered throughout his career. Nauman’s desire to use his body to explore the basic act of creation coincided with his emergence as a professional artist, validating the tenacity it required. The works are an hour each, and intended to be a continuous loop, where viewers are encouraged to come and go freely.
Nauman uses his own body as the material, eliminating the burden of objecthood and manifesting the process of art creation in the truest state. Mimicking metal forms in Wall/Floor Positions, he strives to embody Minimalist sculptures through his interaction with the studio space, while applying monochromatic paint onto his torso in Flesh to White to Black to Flesh offers an alternative to canvas in a process of self-transformation. Bouncing in the Corner No 1 and Revolving Upside Down use the camera to frame and destabilize the planes of the room upon which the artist becomes a mechanized entity, looped on repeat.
With very cycle of each movement, each misstep and permutation, the artist’s actions become more arduous and the human limits revealed. In Nauman’s words, he was doing “things you don’t particularly want to do, with putting yourself in unfamiliar situations, following resistances to find out why you’re resisting” and through that distilling art production to its purest form.
The Embassy | 2 Rue Guillaume Stock | 1050 Brussels
Bruce Nauman was born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He studied mathematics, physics, and art at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and received an MFA from University of California at Davis in 1966. Since the 1960s he has created a broad body of Conceptual artwork that includes sculptures, films, neon wall reliefs, photographs, prints, holograms, and performance.
Nauman has had solo exhibitions at Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern Turbine Hall Commission, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Dia Center for the Arts, New York; Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin; and Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, amongst others. Nauman represented the United States at Venice Biennale in 2009. His work has also been included in the Venice Biennale in 1978, 1980, 1999, 2005, 2007, and 2015; the Whitney Biennial in 1977, 1985, 1987, 1991, and 1997; and Documenta in 1968, 1972, 1977, and 1992. Bruce Nauman lives and works in Northern New Mexico.
The Embassy is a private residence in the heart of Brussels, which has been an international consulate and hotel de maitre in past lives. The house is now owned by Ronald Rozenbaum and is currently undergoing restoration. The Embassy’s mission will will be to present ambitious artistic endeavors on special occasions throughout the year