September 15, 2022–February 26, 2023
Neons Corridors Rooms, a significant exhibition devoted to Bruce Nauman, one of the most well-known living artists, will be on display at Pirelli HangarBicocca from September 15, 2022, to February 26, 2023. Bruce Nauman was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1941; he currently resides and works in New Mexico. The exhibition, which was put together by Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan in association with Tate Modern in London and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, brings together thirty pieces produced since the second half of the 1960s and focuses on the artist’s spatial research, examining the most avant-garde aspect of his practice. With a radical and avant-garde mindset, Nauman has explored the human condition and the deeper meaning of art-making throughout the course of a career spanning more than fifty years. He has used a wide range of media, including installation, video, sculpture, performance, photography, drawing, and sound.
Neons Corridors Rooms, curated by Roberta Tenconi and Vicente Todol with Andrea Lissoni, Nicholas Serota, Leontine Coelewij, Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, and Katy Wan, includes a new selection of works in addition to those shown in retrospectives in London (October 2020–February 2021) and Amsterdam (June–October 2021). These include some of Nauman’s most iconic installations. In fact, the show brings together different kinds of corridors and chambers for the first time, together with six neon pieces, five video and sound works, and a variety of Tunnels, Nauman’s sculptured representations of underground architecture. The show, which spans over four decades of research, organizes works based on recurring themes, highlighting both the differences and similarities between the various pieces as well as the artist’s wide and ongoing exploration with architecture, light, sound, language, and video.
The corridors are structures that Bruce Nauman created in the late 1960s to modify, record, and test the viewer’s movements and experiences in a place. Visitors are forced by their architecture to travel down a road that is both emotional and physical, which increases awareness of one’s own limitations and corporality. The exhibition charts the beginnings and progression of this body of work, beginning with the artist’s very first corridor, Performance Corridor (1969). Additionally, it explores the numerous corridor forms that developed over time, adopting a range of shapes, sizes, and ways of completion. These works have become increasingly complicated over time, to the point where they now include rooms and incorporate sound, light, tactile, plastic, or visual elements and technologies that affect the visitor’s perception and cause disorientation. For instance, in Green Light Corridor (1970), a green fluorescent light floods the small passageway between two walls that are each 12 meters long, while in Corridor Installation with Mirror – San Jose Installation (Double Wedge Corridor with Mirror) (1970), Nauman uses a mirror to confuse viewers as they pass through it. Funnel Piece (Françoise Lambert Installation) (1971), created in Milan at the Françoise Lambert Gallery, uses natural light as a generative element in the experience. This is the first time it has been recreated.
The monograph, which was released in connection with the show at Pirelli HangarBicocca, contains the most recent study on Nauman’s spatial and architectural explorations with an emphasis on his neons, hallways, and room installations. The publication includes freshly commissioned essays by academics, conservators, and curators Francesca Esmay, Joan Simon, and Gloria Sutton that analyze and illuminate the conceptual advancements, formal changes, and unending experiments. The volume is accompanied by specific entries for each of the thirty works on display, written by curators, scholars, and researchers from international institutions, each of which contains a selection of historical visual apparatus and ephemera and highlights the specificity of the exhibition that for the first time conveys such body of work in its entirety.
Neons Corridors Rooms is also supported by TERRA Foundation for American Art.
With special thanks to Sperone Westwater, New York, Nauman’s primary representation, where he has shown since 1976.
The exhibition program
Neons Corridors Rooms is part of the 2022–2023 exhibition program, conceived by Artistic Director Vicente Todolí in collaboration with the curatorial department: Roberta Tenconi, Curator; Lucia Aspesi, Assistant Curator; Fiammetta Griccioli, Assistant Curator. The program continues, in the Navate space, with the exhibitions Ann Veronica Janssens (April 6 to July 30, 2023); and James Lee Byars (October 12, 2023 to February 18, 2024). The Shed space hosts Dineo Seshee Bopape (October 6, 2022 to January 29, 2023); Gian Maria Tosatti (February 23 to July 30, 2023); and Thao Nguyen Phan (September 14, 2023 to February 14, 2024).
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