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 2(i)
Figures 1-6 are examples of 15th century medieval glass from the north aisle at Wiggenhall St. Mary the Virgin Church.
Fig. 2 Fig. 3
Fig. 4 Fig. 5
Fig. 7 Fig. 8
Fig. 9 Fig. 10
Figures 7-10 are examples of 15th century glass from the north aisle of Wiggenhall St. Mary Church, Magdelene, whilst Figure 10 shows medieval glass in a window high up in the north nave.
Figure 11 shows a magnificent 14th century cinquefoil (five-leafed) window from Cley Church, which still has fragments of medieval glass.
Fig. 12 Fig. 13
Figures 11 and 12 show the 14th century glass in the south chancel windows at Elsing Church. Originally, this glass was to be found in the chancel’s great east window, but it was blown in by gales in 1781. The pieces were collected and boxed for over one hundred years and in 1901 the remaining pieces (some having been stolen) were placed in their current position.
Fig. 14 Fig. 15
Fig. 14 is light shining through a Perpendicular Period window at the base of the west tower at Wiggenhall St. Mary Church. I thought this captured something of the medieval.
Figure 15 captures something similar, looking through Wiveton Church’s 14th century north chancel window to the fields beyond.
Fig. 16 Fig. 17
Figures 16 and 17 are votive crosses and a scratch-dial, respectively, on the south porch of Worthing Church. They are of unknown date and could easily be medieval.
Fig. 18 Fig. 19
Then there are examples of re-used stone. Figure 18 is an upside-down sundial on SE chancel buttress from Wickmere Church and Figure 19 is a sundial on the round tower facing west at Syderstone Church – it would originally have been facing south.
Fig. 20 Fig. 21
Figures 20 and 21 (detail) show a so-called ‘leper’s squint’ on the north wall of the 13th century chancel at Fulbourn Church, Cambridgeshire. Now blocked, as is the lancet window, this used to form an outside wall until the chapel on the north wall was built. However, such exterior squints were not intended for lepers to witness Mass, for, as Mortlock and Roberts note in their, The Popular Guide to Norfolk Churches: No. 1: ‘Not even in medieval England did lepers wander at will’ (p.155).
Another blocked squint in the north wall of the chancel at Cawston Church (Fig. 22).