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BRUCE NAUMAN PRINTS 1970 – 2006


Exhibition 24th June – 17th July 2015 Sims Reed Gallery The Economist Building 30 Bury Street London SW1Y 6AU T +44 (0)20 7930 5111 F +44 (0)20 7930 1555 E gallery@simsreed.com www.gallery.simsreed.com In collaboration with Galerie Ronny Van de Velde


BRUCE NAUMAN PRINTS 1970 – 2006


FOREWORD Lyndsey Ingram We are very pleased to be presenting this retrospective exhibition of prints by Bruce Nauman. Ground-breaking, innovative, and wholly individual, Nauman is certainly one of the most important figures in any survey of post war American art. Always pursuing a rigorous enquiry of the human condition, Nauman’s work fundamentally is about the basic elements of love, hate, pleasure, pain, and communication. His elusive style defies easy categorisation and Nauman has worked across a broad range of mediums including video, performance, installation, photography, sculpture, and drawing. Throughout his career, he has also been a committed print maker. Important themes in his work including the role of the viewer, the ambiguity of language, the relationship between positive and negative space, and the use of his body as a material are all present in a survey of his prints. We hope that this exhibition will highlight not only his achievements as a print maker, but also present many of the ideas that define his career as a whole. We are very grateful to several of our colleagues for their insights, assistance, and support in helping to put this exhibition together. We would like to thank Susan Sheehan, who has been a great support and has generously shared with us her vast knowledge of Nauman’s prints. Also, this exhibition would not have been possible without Ronny and Jessy Van de Velde, who worked for many years with keen commitment and enthusiasm to assemble this comprehensive group of material. We are very grateful to the Van de Veldes for working with us and allowing us to bring this incredible group of prints to London.

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BRUCE NAUMAN PRINTS Lucy Harbut Bruce Nauman is one of the most prominent and influential artists to emerge from America in the 1960s. His work has consistently been at the forefront of contemporary art and continues to challenge convention, even today. Nauman’s work avoids categorisation through its diversity – sculpture, installation, video, performance and printmaking have all formed part of his oeuvre. The philosophical issues of language, perception, and human experience preside over any stylistic concerns. The work is confrontational and disorientating, forcing us to engage with it physically, emotionally and mentally. His varied use of media reflects the complexity of human experience, whether through his all-encompassing video projections and sound installations, his vivid neon signs, or the direct and aggressive visual statements of his text-based prints. Nauman had begun to use words in his work from the 1960s in the form of photography and sculpture, and by the 1970s, printmaking became central to his exploration of language. The nature of printmaking allowed Nauman to experiment with reversal, mirroring and repetition of words. It proved to be an increasingly important medium, marrying successfully with his interest in word play. Malice (1980) depicts the word malice forwards and backwards. Our association with the word evokes unease, however, its meaning is simultaneously voided when reversed, creating confusion in our reading of the work. This deconstruction of language forces us to re-evaluate its function, separating meaning and appearance. AH HA (1975) not only uses mirroring and reversal to deconstruct words, but it also resonates aurally with the viewer in the repetitious vowel sounds. Nauman explains – ‘I am really interested in the different ways that language functions. That is something I think a lot about, which also raises questions about how the brain and the mind work… the point where language starts to break down as a useful tool for communication is the same edge where poetry or art occurs.1 In lithography, Nauman found that the directness of mark-making on the stone mimicked drawing; and this appealed to him. Conversely, he also enjoyed the sense of removal that resulted from the intaglio printmaking process. Suck Cuts (1973) is an example of how clarity can be achieved in lithography, in a way that conveys his statement with great precision. In contrast, the expressive imagery of No (1981) reveals a different approach to the medium. The marks have a fury and energy that shout the statement at the viewer. Nauman has had a long fascination with the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein; whose book Philosophical Investigations was a source of great importance and inspiration for his own practice. Wittgenstein explores the gap between language and sensation, highlighting how language as a system fails to portray perception and subjective experience. Many of Nauman’s works take this principle as their basis. Perfect Door, Perfect Odor, and Perfect Rodo (1973) explore the variable concept of perfection. The work plays on the inappropriate juxtaposition of the word ‘perfect’ with the words ‘odor’ and ‘door’, and further, the absurdity of the statement ‘perfect rodo’. At the centre of this, is the way in which the viewer experiences the works, through the inevitable associations

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we make when we read language. These works through the simple re-arrangement of letters, show how language can be easily manipulated, and in doing so how meaning can be dramatically altered, changing our experience of it. As Nauman describes – ‘Roland Barthes has written about the pleasure that is derived from reading when what is known rubs up against what is unknown, or when correct grammar rubs up against nongrammar… When language begins to break down a little bit, it becomes exciting and communicates in nearly the simplest way that it can function: you are forced to be aware of the sounds and the poetic parts of words.’2 Nauman has used his own body as a medium throughout his career, from his earliest video performance pieces, such as Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square (1967-8), where repetitive, mundane tasks were acted out in his studio. Nauman’s objectification of his own body challenged the conventional role of the artist. His first print series Studies for Holograms (a-e) (1970) was conceptually rooted in earlier performance pieces and directly linked to a series of photographs taken in 1968. Five works were selected for this later group of screenprints, which focus on the lower half of his face. In isolation, his facial features appear as abstract entities, where flesh becomes a mouldable material. The eerie yellow hue of these works accentuates the disconnection from the human body. In these works, and in the later series Infrared Outtakes (2006) Nauman was fascinated by how arbitrary actions or expressions would resonate with the viewer, in a different way to how we respond to works that deal with language and all the associations it holds. Clown Taking a Shit (1988) represents another aspect of Nauman’s work, addressing issues of identity, and masking. This piece returns to his seminal video installation Clown Torture (1987) which dealt with issues of frustration, failure, threat and in a broader sense, the human condition. This piece was important in its pervasive creation of tension and anxiety for the viewer, calling into question our role as voyeur, as well as victim. He plays on our associations with clowns and their comic role, coupled with the threatening nature of their disguise. Tension and ambiguity, in this case represented by the clown, is present throughout Nauman’s work. Nauman constantly throws the conventional role of the viewer into question, and forces us to react. Nauman himself explained ‘From the beginning I was trying to see if I could make art that did that. Art that was just there all at once. Like getting hit in the face with a baseball bat. Or better yet, like getting hit in the back of the neck. You never see it coming; it just knocks you down. I like that idea very much: the kind of intensity that doesn’t give you any trace of whether you’re going to like it or not’.3 This survey of Nauman’s prints shows the depth of his involvement in printmaking as well as the use of different techniques to rigorously explore language and human experience. It reveals printmaking as an essential part of his diverse practice, and shows the thematic overlap with his work across other mediums. Nauman’s prints are insistent, provocative and form a crucial part of his oeuvre. Bruce Nauman Prints 1970-89, C. Cordes, 1989. Bruce Nauman Prints 1970-89, C. Cordes, 1989. 3 Bruce Nauman Robert C. Morgan, 2002. 1 2

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AH HA Screenprint, 1975. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 44. Printed on Arches paper by Robert Knisel. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. (Cordes 32). 74 Ă— 104.5 cm

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HUMAN COMPANIONSHIP, HUMAN DRAIN Lithograph, 1981. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 50. Printed on Rives BFK paper by Anthony Zepeda and Christine Fox at Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. Published by the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, Inc., New York. (Cordes 46). 76.2 Ă— 55.9 cm

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DOE FAWN Lithograph printed in colours, 1973. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 50. Printed on Rives paper by Chris Cordes. Published by Cirrus Editions, Los Angeles. (Cordes 20). 81.2 Ă— 114.3 cm

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LIVE OR DIE (STATE I) Lithograph printed in colour, 1985. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 25. Printed on Rives BFK White paper by Robert Arber. Published by the artist and Arber and Son Editions, New Mexico. (Cordes 52). 38.1 Ă— 27.9 cm

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LIVE OR DIE (STATE II) Lithograph printed in colour, 1985. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 25. Printed on Rives BFK White paper by Robert Arber. Published by the artist and Arber and Son Editions, New Mexico. (Cordes 53). 38.1 Ă— 27.9 cm

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SUGAR/RAGUS Lithograph and screenprint in colours, 1973. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 57. Printed on Arjomari paper by Dan Freeman and Jeff Wasserman. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. (Cordes 14). 70.5 Ă— 91.4 cm

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HANDS ONLY FROM INFRARED OUTTAKES Epson Ultra Chrome K3 ink-jet print, 2006. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 60 verso. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. 50.8 × 71.1 cm

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NECK PULL FROM INFRARED OUTTAKES Epson Ultra Chrome K3 ink-jet print, 2006. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 60 verso. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. 50.8 × 71.1 cm


COCKEYE LIPS FROM INFRARED OUTTAKES Epson Ultra Chrome K3 ink-jet print, 2006. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 60 verso. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. 50.8 × 71.1 cm

OPENED EYE FROM INFRARED OUTTAKES Epson Ultra Chrome K3 ink-jet print, 2006. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 60 verso. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. 50.8 × 71.1 cm

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M. AMPERE Lithograph printed in colours, 1973. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 50. Printed on Rives paper by Ed Hamilton. Published by Cirrus Editions, Los Angeles. (Cordes 21). 78.7 Ă— 115 cm

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SUPOSTER Lithograph and screenprint in colours, 1973. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 72. Printed on Arjomari paper by Serge Lozingot. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. (Cordes 12). 91.8 Ă— 75.6 cm

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NO - STATE Lithograph, 1981. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 25. Printed on Arches Cover paper by Chris Sukimoto and Richard Garst. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. (Cordes 45). 76.2 Ă— 109.2 cm

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NO Lihograph, 1981 Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 25. Printed on Arches Cover paper by Chris Sukimoto and Richard Garst. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. (Cordes 44). 76.2 Ă— 109.2 cm

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SUCK CUTS Lithograph, 1973. Signed in pencil and inscribed AP. One of 9 artist’s proofs aside from the numbered edition of 34. Printed on Arjomari paper by George Page. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. (Cordes 17). 98.4 × 79.6 cm

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EAT DEATH Lithograph, 1973. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 68. Printed on Arjomari paper by Ron Olds. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. (Cordes 13). 108 Ă— 79.1 cm

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STUDY FOR HOLOGRAMS The complete portfolio of five screenprints in colour, 1970. Each print signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 150. Printed on Kromekote paper by Aetna Studios, New York. Published by Castelli Graphics, New York. (Cordes 1-5). 66 Ă— 66 cm

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HELP ME HURT ME Lithograph printed in colours, 1975. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 20. Printed on Arches paper by Serge Lozingot. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. (Cordes 28). 91.4 Ă— 129.6 cm

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EARTH WORLD Lithograph, 1985. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 25. Printed on Rives BFK White paper by Robert Arber. Published by the artist and Arber and Son Editions, New Mexico. (Cordes 54). 76.2 Ă— 111.8 cm

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SILVER GROTTO/ YELLOW GROTTO Screenprint, 1975. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 20. Printed on Arches 88 paper by Jeff Wasserman. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. (Cordes 36). 76.2 Ă— 211.7 cm

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UNTITLED (FINGERS AND HOLES) A Lithograph printed in colours, 1994. Signed in black marker and numbered from the edition of 50. Printed on Rives BFK paper. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. 76.2 × 101.6 cm

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UNTITLED (FINGERS AND HOLES) B Lithograph printed in colours, 1994. Signed in black marker and numbered from the edition of 50. Printed on Rives BFK paper. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. 76.2 × 101.6 cm


UNTITLED (FINGERS AND HOLES) C Lithograph printed in colours, 1994. Signed in black marker and numbered from the edition of 50. Printed on Rives BFK paper. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. 76.2 Ă— 101.6 cm

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CANED DANCE Lithpgraph printed in colours, 1974. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 100. Printed on Arches paper by Ed Hamilton at Cirrus Editions, Los Angeles. Published by Multiples, Inc. and Castelli Graphics, New York. (Cordes 27). 55.9 Ă— 76.2 cm

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MALICE Lithograph, 1980. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 75. Printed on Rives BFK paper by Donald Roberts. Published by Trisolono Gallery, Ohio University, Ohio. (Cordes 37). 74.9 Ă— 105.4 cm

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CLOWN TAKING A SHIT Lithograph printed in colours, 1988. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 35. Printed on Transpagra paper by Arber and Son Editions, New Mexico. Published by Brooke Alexander Editions, New York. (Cordes 56). 106.7 Ă— 76.2 cm

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PERFECT DOOR; PERFECT ODOR; PERFECT RODO The complete set of three lithographs, 1973. Each signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 50. Printed on Rives paper by Ron Mills. Published by Cirrus Editions, Los Angeles. (Cordes 23-25). Each sheet: 81.3 Ă— 66 cm

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LIFE MASK Lithograph, 1981. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 50. Printed on Arches Cover paper by Charly Ritt. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. (Cordes 41). 71.1 Ă— 96.5 cm

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PEARL MASQUE Lithograph, 1981. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 50. Printed on Arches 88 paper by James Reid, Serge Lozingot, and Chris Sukimoto. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. (Cordes 42). 72.4 Ă— 95.3 cm

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PARTIAL TRUTH Embossing from granite, 1998. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 60. 48.5 Ă— 62.2 cm

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PARTIAL TRUTH Etching, 1997. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 60. Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. 56.8 × 71.7 cm

PARTIAL TRUTH Screenprint with embossing, 1997. Signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 50. 56.8 × 71.7 cm

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SELECTED EXHIBITIONS 2015 Bruce Nauman Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. 2014 Bruce Nauman’s Words on Paper, Art Gallery of Ontario. 2010 Bruce Nauman: Dream Passage, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. 2009 Notations/Bruce Nauman: Days and Giorni, Biennale di Venezia; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York. 2007 A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA. 2005 Bruce Nauman: Raw Materials Unilever Commission, Tate Modern Turbine Hall, London. 2003 Bruce Nauman: Theaters of Experience, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin. 2002 Bruce Nauman: Mapping the Studio I (Fat Chance John Cage), Dia Center for the Arts, New York. 1993-94 Bruce Nauman: Inside Out, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Modern Art, New York. 1974 Bruce Nauman: Work from 1965 – 1972, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 1968 Bruce Nauman Leo Castelli Gallery, New York 1966 Bruce Nauman Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles.

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SELECTED COLLECTIONS Tate Britain, London. Tate Modern, London. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), Chicago. Los Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA, Los Angeles. MOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles. Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA), Miami. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - SFMOMA, San Francisco. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington. Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin. Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart. Städel Museum, Frankfurt/Main. National Museum of Contemporary Art - EMST, Athens. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam. Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel. Museu d´Art Contemporani de Barcelona - MACBA, Barcelona. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Musée d’Art Contemporain Lyon, Lyon. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, Nantes. Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, QLD.

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Published by Sims Reed Gallery on the occasion of the exhibition ‘BRUCE NAUMAN PRINTS 1970 – 2006 ’ 24th June – 17th July 2015 © All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this catalogue may be reproduced in whole or in part, without the permission from the publisher Sims Reed Gallery. Designed by Lucy Harbut. Printed by Dayfold.


SIMS R E E D

GAL L E RY

Bruce Nauman Prints 1970 – 2006  

We are very pleased to be presenting this retrospective exhibition of prints by Bruce Nauman. Ground-breaking, innovative, and wholly indivi...