Neon Porn? That’s fun art!

Five Marching Men, 1985

In my recent trip to Berlin I visited the National Gallery in the Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum of Modern Art. They are currently showing the first major retrospective in Berlin of the internationally famous American artist Bruce Nauman. The exhibition ‘Dream Passage’ runs from 28 May – 10 October 2010 so if you’re planning a trip to the German capital in this time, I’d really recommend a visit. This exhibition is a thoroughly dynamic, experiential immersion into modern art. Colourful, polictical and enjoyable, this was one of the best exhibitions I’ve been to in months.

Since the middle of the 1960s, Bruce Nauman has worked with a diverse range of media; his extensive oeuvre includes sculptures, films and videos, photographs, neon works, prints, installations and vocal works. This exhibition focuses predominantly on Nauman’s neon, film and architectural pieces.

Sex and Death/ Double “69”, 1985

Explicit political connotations have been a major focus of Nauman’s work since the beginning of the 1980s. This is illustrated, for example, by the complex neon works like American Violence, (1981-82) (below), or Sex and Death / Double 69, (1985), (pictured above) which examine the connections between sex, violence and death.

American Violence, 1981-82

I absolutely loved these colourful neon works…

Along with these the large hall contained a variety of architectural structures, designed for the audience to interact with, by entering and toching. At the end of the 1960s, Nauman began constructing corridors and rooms that could be entered by visitors and which evoked the experience of being locked in and of being abandoned.

Kassel Corridor: Elliptical Space, 1972

Excellent examples of this “experience architecture” are featured in the central hall of the museum, including the complex work Corridor Installation (Nick Wilder Installation) from 1970, where visitors are recorded by a video camera and then confronted with their own image. In the elliptically shaped Kassel Corridor: Elliptical Space (1972), created for documenta 5, however, one viewer at a time may enter and stay for the maximum of one hour.

Nick Wilder Installation, 1970

www.hamburgerbahnhof.de

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