This exhibition presents a new work by Bruce Nauman, Contrapposto Studies, I through VII, which continues the artist’s exploration of video, sound, and performance. Characteristic of his work over the last five decades, Nauman transforms a simple and subtle gesture into a complex network of images and sound.
Consisting of seven large-scale video projections with sound (five in Alter Gallery 176 and two in gallery 171), the work features footage of the artist as he walks in contrapposto. Italian for “counterpose,” contrapposto refers to a pose that first appeared in Greek classical sculpture. This shift to naturalism emphasized the counterbalance inherent to the human body in motion.
In 1968 Nauman created the seminal video Walk with Contrapposto, in which the artist performed an exaggerated walk along a tall, narrow corridor that he had built. In 2015/2016 Nauman elaborates and expands upon this action, exposing it to digital manipulation and recombination. The artist’s movements are rendered in positive and negative, moving forward and backward respectively. The soundtrack of each projection captures his movements, compounding the relationship between aural and visual experience.
Making reference to his earlier work while ruminating on the bodily ideals of classical sculpture, Nauman’s Contrapposto Studies, I through VII dwells on the history and possibility of representation.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.