On 17th November 2017, I was, like a moth, instantly attracted to the bright lights of the Bruce Nauman exhibition (Tate Modern). His work demanded the viewer to (literally) take a step back and consider the purpose and context of his work. Nauman's extensive and imaginative use of media transmits a multitude of different ideas simultaneously. It is clear that his previous studies in Mathematics and Physics informed his practice and are a domineering influence on his work. One piece which caught my attention was 'Violins, Violence, Silence' (1981).
Violins, Violence, Silence
The artwork itself was made of coloured neon tubing with a clear glass suspension frame. As the letters overlap, it is hard to initially distinguish what the piece is actually conveying, proving rather disorientating. Additionally, the buzzing noise which accompanies the piece (originating from the neon tubing) is somewhat distracting. However, it is ironic that while reading 'violins' evokes a pure and unpolluted noise, in reality you are faced with a low, droning buzz. I enjoy the irony of Nauman's work and the complex ideas which lie behind the lights. There is much more to this piece than is initially apparent and I hope that other visitors to the gallery take the time to consider its complexity.
Another piece in the exhibition which caught my attention was 'Raw Material Washing Hands'(1996). The video, which documents one individual washing their hands constantly for 55 minutes is difficult viewing. It is reminiscent of a person suffering from obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) in which the individual is performing a routine repeatedly, as though it were a ritual. The video becomes painful to watch as we see the individuals skin being overworked by the soap and water and I must admit that although the video runs for just under an hour, I watched it for no longer than 10 minutes.
Raw Material Washing Hands,
After seeing Nauman's work, it is clear that he questions and stretches the boundaries of what it is to make art. He has purposefully left behind traditional notions of 'fine art' and has distanced himself from paint as a medium.
IN SEARCH OF MEDIEVAL INSPIRATION: PART 5(ii)
Figure 25 and Figures 26 and 27 (details) show a fine mid fourteenth century medieval chest that is to be found in the chancel of Dersingham Church. The major carvings shown represent the four Evangelistic symbols (man, lion, ox and eagle), each associated with a scroll.
Fig. 28 Fig. 29
Figures 28 and 29 show the Perpendicular style carving on the front of the chest, which helps date it to about 1350 A.D., and one of the the chest’s ends, respectively.
Figures 30 and 31 (detail) show a fine wooden 14th century panel now housed on the south wall of the chancel at Rougham Church and may have originally formed part of a reredos. Six saints stand in niches interspersed by five smaller figures. All the saints and figures have had their heads defaced, indeed, completely removed.
Figure 32 shows some 15th century carved woodwork that today resides behind the north chapel altar on its east window ledge of Sparham Church. I have read that the carving may come from a wall plate of the church’s original roof, or they are bench (pew) backs. Either way, they represent some beautiful craftsmanship.
Figure 33 shows the inside bar slot of the north nave door of North Elmham Church. To the right of the photograph, on the other side of the doorway arch, there is a slot where the wooden bar is secured and then the remaining side of the bar is lowered into place, as above.
Fig. 34 Fig. 35
Figures 34 and 35 show two churchyard cross bases, from Toftrees and Ingoldisthorpe, respectively. Figure 34 shows the hole where the wooden cross would have been inserted.
Figure 36 was a real delight to see and touch – the remains of a Saxon cross, from Whissonset Church. An archaeological dig revealed a mid Saxon (650-850 A.D.) graveyard and settlement to the north of the existing church and whilst a grave-digger was digging a grave in 1900 he came upon this upper portion of the cross which is dated, circa 920 A.D. Patterning is on all four sides and it is the only example of its kind in Norfolk. Carved in relief on Barnock stone, whether it marked a grave or was a preaching cross is unknown.
Figure 37 shows something rather special – a unique late Norman mensa (Latin for ‘table’), returned to its former position and glory (having been re-used as a step in the sanctuary), at South Raynham Church. It stands on two plain supports and is six inches thick. Figure 38 is a detail of the side patterning that is on at least three sides (the fourth side is against the wall).
Fig. 39 Fig. 40
Figures 39 and 40 show two of the four corner consecration crosses on the mensa. The middle consecration cross has worn away. The five crosses represent the Five Wounds of Christ. Mensa slabs were removed during the Reformation.
I came across another mensa slab inside the base of the tower set against the north wall at Rougham Church. I would have liked to have photographed this, as I could see the consecration crosses, but there was a great deal of paraphernalia stacked in front of it, obscuring it virtually completely.
Figure 41 shows a chrysom brass to John and Roger Yelverton, who died in 1505 and 1510, respectively, that lies in the north floor of the sanctuary at Rougham Church. A chrysom sheet was used to cover a child during baptism. If a child died before its mother had received a priest’s blessing and purification, the child was buried in a chrysom sheet.