Bruce Nauman at Estancia FEMSA (Mexico City)
From February 3 to April 15, 2018, Estancia FEMSA – Casa Luis Barragán is pleased to present Parameters, the first solo exhibition by Bruce Nauman in Mexico. This exhibition has assembled five video works—four produced in 1968-1969, which are displayed on monitors in various locations throughout the house, as well as a projection of Setting a Good Corner (1999) in the studio. Presenting Nauman’s video installations in this iconic landmark allows the examination and demonstration of the architectonic and spatial traits found in his work since the beginning. For the exhibition, Estancia FEMSA - Casa Luis Barragán invited independent curator/writer Michael Auping to collaborate on the accompanying catalogue, offering insights on Nauman’s work.
Throughout his career, American artist Bruce Nauman has explored themes related to the body, architecture, confinement and space. Some of his earliest works involved making casts and drawings of his body, objectifying himself as sculpture, while creating a deconstructed form of self-portraiture. These ideas are extended into the early videos on display, presenting the theme of bodies and minds in spatial containment. In the video Wall-Floor Positions (1968), the artist assumes positions that highlight his body’s connection to the walls and floor of his studio. Based on this, Nauman made a series of architectural structures that heightened body awareness. These works began with one of Nauman’s walking studies. For Walk with Contrapposto (1968), the artist built a narrow corridor. The resulting video shows Nauman swinging his hips and shoulders with his hands clasped behind his head, mimicking the classic pose employed in Italian Renaissance paintings as he walks through the 26 inch wide corridor.
For Nauman architecture also serves as sculpture, this means much more than the body mass contained in three dimensions, whose volume or weight can be seen or touched by us. The ideas of weight or the resistance of matter present us with complex problems around sculpture and its possibilities. That is the reason why the artist marks a square on the floor, chooses one of the corners of his studio or builds a narrow passage in order to be able to discover the form, consistency and structure of his own body through these elemental models. When architecture is considered in its widest possible perspective, it should embody the material and constructive delimitation of a given space, as well as the need to conceptualize a natural landscape as an element of human experience. The Mexican architect Luis Barragán (Mexico, 1902-1988) understood and practiced this “holistic” notion, by smoothly integrating within urban spaces the modern construction and parks that noticeably embellish cities. With the edification of his own house in Tacubaya, he tried to unify these elements, communicating the terraces and walls of the interior rooms with the patios and green gardens of the outside setting. These distinctive features of his work reappear in different forms in the work of experimental artists of the sixties and seventies.
About the artist
Bruce Nauman (born 1941/Indiana, USA). He received his BS from the University of Wisconsin in 1964, and his MFA from the University of California in 1966. Nauman is widely regarded as among the most important living American artists and as a catalyst for the recent shift in international artistic practice toward conceptual and performative uses of language and the body.
Bruce Nauman. Parameters
February 3–April 15, 2018
Opening: February 3, 12–3pm
Casa Luis Barragan
Col. Ampliación Daniel Garza
General Francisco Ramírez 12-14
C.P. 11840 Mexico City