Slow Angle Walk (Beckett Walk)

Bruce Nauman American

Not on view

Beginning in 1965 Nauman abandoned painting for a wide ranging investigation of his own body as subject and object of his work, from latex and wax casting of body parts to a series of twenty-five films and videos. In these latter works, the artist executed mundane activities in his studio - from walking and jumping to bouncing balls - where he explored "the kinds of tension that arise when you try and balance and can't." Nauman knew this kind of stripped-down, non-narrative movement from his association with Ann Halprin's Dance Theatre Workshop in San Francisco, in which the choreographer pioneered (with colleagues such as Simone Forti, Yvonne Rainer, and Trisha Brown, who would soon decamp to New York) the use of everyday movements that could be executed by untrained performers. This hour-long video was not intended to be watched intently from start to finish but rather looked at for a time and returned to periodically in a gallery, like a sculpture. The subtitle refers to the writer Samuel Beckett, who, in experimental novels of the postwar period such as Molloy (1951), featured tragi-comic characters engaged in similarly pokerfaced acts of futility.

Slow Angle Walk (Beckett Walk), Bruce Nauman (American, born Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1941), Single-channel digital video, transferred from video tape, black-and-white, sound, 60 min.

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