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Bruce Nauman’s Mindfuck

neon installations are anything but inert...

Bruce Nauman’s Mindfuck

The North Gallery of London’s Hauser and Wirth has opened up its doors and an x-rated army of bold, rude and imaginatively perverse neon installations from throughout Nauman’s career have marched in and set up camp...

Untitled (Helman Gallery Parallelogram)
1971
Wallboard, green fluorescent lights
458 x 552 x 691 cm / 180 3/8 x 217 x 3/8 x 272 in
Installation view, ‘Bruce Nauman / mindfuck’,
Hauser & Wirth London, England, 2013
Glenstone
© 2012 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / DACS London
Courtesy Hauser & Wirth

Neon is back with a bang of late (not literally of course, as it’s an inert gas – damn I miss Bob Monkhouse), but back from the wilderness of squalid kebab shops and seedy nightclub signs, no longer flickering uncertainly but grabbing you by the ears and locking on your gaze with an explosion of colour and a simplicity and clarity of form. Nostalgic restoration projects in Warsaw and Las Vegas are helping preserve the historic impact of yesteryear’s neon signs; whilst contemporary artworks like those of Tracey Emin and renewed interest in these older works by Bruce Nauman are bending the rules of what the tubes can do, elevating the previously low-rent to high-art.

It’s good to see an artist go balls-out with a project – call it Mindfuck and if you’ll forgive the continued vulgarity, it’s shit or bust. Happily for Nauman, it’s shit, or rather it’s the shit. The North Gallery of London’s Hauser and Wirth has opened up its doors and an x-rated army of bold, rude and imaginatively perverse neon installations from throughout Nauman’s career have marched in and set up camp. Like their creator, this work is balls out, dicks out (and dicks in as well as it happens), with an implied two fingers in the air to propriety. As the great Kenny Everett famously and disingenuously quipped, “it’s all in the best possible taste”. It is not, but it is fun, and a little of that goes a long way these days.

You can look for Nauman’s psychologically and philosophically-informed themes of human nature, mind/body dualism, death, aggression and sexuality until the lights go out on Bruce Nauman / mindfuck at the Saville Row gallery on 9th March.

Bruce Nauman's Mindfuck

Bruce Nauman
Sex and Death/Double “69″
1985
Neon tubing on aluminium monolith
227 x 134.8 x 34 cm / 89 3/8 x 53 1/8 x 13 3/8 in
© 2012 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / DACS London
Private Collection. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography Zürich

Bruce Nauman's Mindfuck

Good Boy, Bad Boy
1986 – 1987
Neon with glass tubing mounted on metal monolith
349.3 x 548.6 x 37.5 cm / 137 1/2 x 215 x 14 3/4 in
Installation view, ‘Bruce Nauman / mindfuck’,
Hauser & Wirth London, England, 2013
Daros Collection
© 2012 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / DACS London
Courtesy Hauser & Wirth

Bruce Nauman's Mindfuck

Bruce Nauman
Run from Fear, Fun from Rear
1972
Neon tubing with clear glass tubing suspension frame
Two parts:
20.3 x 116.8 x 5.7 cm / 8 x 46 x 2 1/4 in
18.4 x 113 x 5.7 cm / 7 1/4 x 44 1/2 x 2 1/4 in
© 2012 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / DACS London
Private Collection

Bruce Nauman's Mindfuck

Installation view, ‘Bruce Nauman / mindfuck’,
Hauser & Wirth London, England, 2013
© 2012 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / DACS London
Courtesy Hauser & Wirth

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