Celebrated as one of the greatest living artists by ArtNews magazine, and as one of the world’s 100 most significant personalities by Esquire and Time magazines, Bruce Nauman has had a major influence on succeeding generations of artists for more than 40 years. This exhibition presents 15 neon light works including ‘Life, Death, Love, Hate, Pleasure, Pain’, a title which sums up the range of existential issues Nauman explores in his work.

Nauman’s neon sculptures are currently lighting up the Musée d’art contemporain (MAC) in Montreal. The fifteen light works in the exhibition are the fruit of Nauman’s explorations of language, a leitmotif allowing him to express, with disconcerting aptness, the passage of time, the repetition that colours everyday life, the ritual of insignificant gestures, and the resulting self-awareness.

Bruce Nauman, ‘Mean Clown Welcome’ (detail), 1985
Neon tubing mounted on metal monolith
Udo and Anette Brandhorst Collection, Cologne
Copyright Bruce Nauman – SODRAC (2007)

Notions of body and identity, the role of language, the phenomena of spatial awareness, and artistic process and viewer participation are recurring themes in Nauman’s art. Following a rigorous, innovative approach, he explores various means of expression–neon, sculpture, film, video, performance, drawing–and is considered one of the pioneers of installation.

The masterpiece of this exhibition is an installation entitled ‘One Hundred Fish Fountain’, a water fountain made of 97 cast bronzed fish suspended from steel wires that spurt water from body perforations.

Bruce Nauman, ‘One Hundred Fish Fountain’, 2005

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