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 4(i)
The 15th century rood screen at Cawston Church (Fig. 1) is well known, for it is a splendid example of its kind, with original doors and the upper section intact. It shows twenty paintings by (it is believed) three Flemish artists.
Fig. 2 Fig. 3
Figures2 and 3 depict, from left to right: St. Agnes, St. Helena, St. Thomas and St. John the Evangelist, respectively.
Fig. 4 Fig. 5
Figures 4 and 5 depict, from left to right: St. James the Greater, St. Andrew, St. Paul and St. Peter, respectively. Figures 2-5 are from the north side of the nave.
Fig. 6 Fig. 7
Figures 6 and 07 depict, from left to right: St. James the Less, St. Bartholomew, St. Philip and St. Jude, respectively.
Fig. 8 Fig. 9
Figures 8 and 9 depict, from left to right: St. Simon, St. Matthew, St. Matthias and Sir John Schorne, respectively. Figures 6-9 are from the south side of the nave.
Fig. 10 Fig. 11
The doors show St. Gregory and St. Jerome on the north side nave door (Fig. 10), and St. Ambrose and St. Augustine on the south side nave door (Fig. 11).
Fig. 12 Fig. 13
Figures 12 and 13 show examples of the signs of defacement that happened during the Reformation. Whilst the face of Figure 12 has been mostly scractched away, the eyes have been chisled out of Figure 13.
Fig. 14 Fig. 15
Whilst at Cawston, the sun shone through the 15th century windows and I was able to capture these images (Figs. 14 & 15).
Figure 16 shows some of the detailed colour work on the Cawston rood screen.
Fig. 17 Fig. 18
Fig. 19 Fig. 20
The heads of Queen Phillippa and King Edward III (Figs. 17 & 18, respectively) on the west doorway arch, and Queen Joanna of Navarre and Henry IV (Figs. 19 & 20, respectively) on the south porch arch of Cley Church.
Fig. 21 Fig. 22 Fig. 23 Fig. 24
I am starting to collect photographs of these weathered heads as they may prove useful subjects in future work. Figures 21-24 are examples of 14th century heads from the south chancel wall of Ringstead Church and adorn Decorated Period windows. I like it when only the basic form of a head is still discernible and Fig. 23 stands out in particular in this regard.
Fig. 25 Fig. 26
Figures 25 and 26 come from the west door arch at Salle Church and are typical of such carved heads.
Figure 27 shows medieval glass fragments in the south wall of the chancel at Trumpington Church, Cambridgeshire, whilst Figure 28 shows a north chancel window containing rare 13th century
Fig. 28 Fig. 29
glass of two lions heads in the centre of the window, coloured yellow. Figure 29 is a detail of the left-hand side of the two lions heads. Below the lions is 14th century glass of St. Paul and St. Peter.
Fig. 30 Fig. 31
Figures 30 and 31 (detail) show the medieval window glass in the south aisle at Trumpington Church, Cambridgeshire. Until 2014, the central lancet contained medieval glass too, but this was stolen.