Hill / Bruce Nauman
International New Media Art
14 December 2002 - 21 April 2003
In the 1960s a generation of American artists began to explore new technologies of the moving image. Working with film and video, artists such as Bruce Nauman and Gary Hill created elaborate installations of video and sound, using monitors and projected images in large exhibition spaces. Gary Hill / Bruce Nauman: International New Media Art, the first exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia to focus on New Media art, shows a broad selection of works from two American artists who have been central to this most contemporary of art movements.
Bruce Nauman (born 1941) has worked in many media including sculpture, installation, drawings, photography, film and video. The exhibition presents a number of Nauman’s works in the National Gallery of Australia collection including the famous sculpture Window or Wall Sign 1967 which spells out the words 'The true artist helps the world by revealing artistic truths' in glowing neon light. Office Edit II with color shift, flip, flop, and flip/flop (Fat Chance John Cage), Mapping the Studio 2001, a recent acquisition by the Gallery, is a video installation which shows casts, furniture, equipment, and the coming and going of mice in the artist’s studio. These and other works by Nauman are ironic statements on the role of the artist in today’s society.
Gary Hill, (born 1951) who works exclusively in video, records performances and experiments with the unique technical possibilities of the medium. Two significant video installations in the exhibition are Goats and Sheep, 1995/2001 and Crossbow 1999, both recent Gallery acquisitions. For Crossbow the artist strapped three cameras to his body and recorded himself performing ordinary actions. The result, broadcast on three separate screens, is an intimate self-portrait, which uses technology to fragment the artist’s body. Hill’s approach, which is less autobiographical than Nauman’s, physically connects the viewer to the images and language of the new moving image technology.
The exhibition shows these key works by Nauman and Hill as well as a group of recent acquisitions of the video work of both artists. These new acquisitions reflect the Gallery’s growing commitment to collecting and exhibiting contemporary international art in general and New Media art in particular. The acquisitions are displayed alongside generous loans from private and public collections in Australia, Spain and Switzerland. A catalogue containing texts by several international experts on New Media art will be published to accompany the exhibition.