Bruce Nauman at Pirelli Hangar Bicocca, Milano

Bruce Nauman at Pirelli Hangar Bicocca, Milano

Pirelli Hangar Bicocca in collaboration with the Tate Modern in London and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam presents Neons Corridors Rooms, the exhibition dedicated to Bruce Nauman, one of the most influential artists on the contemporary art scene.

The exhibition is conceived as research on the space/time dimension that has always characterized Nauman’s works. In particular, we find ourselves immersed in huge environments inhabited by ambiguous architectures that use sound and light to project us into what is the artist’s vision.

Neons Corridors Rooms collects about thirty works created from the second half of the sixties that explore the most innovative dimension of Bruce Nauman’s practice (Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1941; lives and works in New Mexico) with a focus on his spatial and architectural research. We are immersed in a dimension that investigates the human condition making us reflect on how much art can involve us physically and psychologically since it is not limited to simply being observed but wants to interact with us, it wants to be inhabited by us as subjects to which it is addressed. It is useless to talk about pioneering, synaesthesia, concepts that are taken for granted for insiders, but perhaps it is necessary to take stock of the situation to make the question less complex.

Installation, video, sculpture, performance, photography, drawing and sound converge in a single space that gathers in itself the complete essence of being, of existing, of talking to the observer. We can enter it, touch it, photograph it and live it as we like. We don’t just contemplate it but we can be an integral part of it. The art from our century wants this, it wants to be part of us, of our experience and of our being in a continuous stream of emotions. The artist has conceived and created many works with this purpose, and I believe the curators have adequately valued his intention. The exhibition at Pirelli HangarBicocca is curated by Roberta Tenconi and Vicente Todolí with Andrea Lissoni, Nicholas Serota, Leontine Coelewij, Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen and Katy Wan and is enriched with a new selection that includes some of Nauman’s most emblematic installations, coming from different international public and private collections. An evocative and unique route for the Italian panorama where everything is often inaccessible and forbidden with lots of limitations.

Extending ​​over 5,000 square meters of the aisles of Pirelli HangarBicocca and also occupying other spaces, such as the reading room and the outdoor area, the exhibition brings together for the first time the various types of corridors and rooms, as well as six neon lights, five video and sound installations and a selection of tunnels, or sculptural models for underground architecture.

But let’s talk about the corridors. They are the real protagonists of the exhibition. As soon as you enter, the first appears, psychedelic with lots of colored lights that seem to call us to visit it from the inside. We can do it. We can immerse ourselves in those narrow, almost suffocating spaces that remind us how weak the human condition is, but above all how limited and limiting our body is in real space. We are bewildered, inebriated, stunned by all those sensations that find our emotional representative in Nauman.

The exhibition tells the genesis and development of this body of work starting from the first corridor created by the artist, Performance Corridor (1969). The idea for the work comes from a performance recorded in the video Walk with Contrapposto (1968), which is also present in the exhibition, where Nauman walks back and forth in a narrow passage with exaggerated movements of the pelvis, imitating the poses of classical sculptures. And we can do it too, especially if we reserve our key at the entrance to the installation that is inaccessible to everyone at the same time. For a maximum of one hour, that space can be ours, it can be the area in which to shape what we want to do right at that moment, completely alone without anyone’s judgment.

Last but not least: Raw Materials (2004), where the artist creates a real soundscape. The work, commissioned for the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern in 2004, is installed for the first time outdoors, in the outdoor area of ​​Pirelli HangarBicocca, and plays in loop 21 audio recordings linked to as many previous works by the artist, retracing his long career in a path of references, flashbacks and acoustic alterations.

Perhaps inflated, perhaps in fashion but still essential and necessary. Go and spread.


Bruce Nauman. Neons Corridors Rooms
15/09/2022 – 26/02/2023
Pirelli Hangar Bicocca

Bruce NaumanBruce Nauman, Left or Standing, Standing or Left Standing, 1971/1999. Installation view, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano, 2022. Dia Art Foundation; Partial gift, Lannan Foundation, 2013 © 2022 Bruce Nauman/SIAE. Courtesy the artist; Sperone Westwater, New York, and Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano. Photo Agostino Osio

Bruce Nauman, Mapping the Studio II with color shift, flip, flop, & flip/flop (Fat Chance John Cage), 2001. Installation view, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano, 2022. Purchased jointly by Tate, London with funds provided by the American Fund for the Tate Gallery; Centre Pompidou, Paris, Musée national d’art moderne/Centre de creation industrielle, with the support of Mr. and Mrs. William S. Fisher Family Foundation and the Georges Pompidou Culture Foundation; and Kunstmuseum Basel, 2004 © 2022 Bruce Nauman / SIAE. Courtesy the artist; Sperone Westwater, New York, and Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano. Photo Agostino Osio

Bruce Nauman, “Neons Corridors Rooms”, installation view, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano, 2022 © 2022 Bruce Nauman/SIAE. Courtesy the artist; Sperone Westwater, New York, and Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano. Photo Agostino Osio

Bruce Nauman, My Name As Though It Were Written on the Surface of the Moon, 1968. Installation view, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano, 2022. Edition of 3 Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam © 2022 Bruce Nauman/SIAE. Courtesy the artist; Sperone Westwater, New York, and Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano. Photo Agostino Osio


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