Punta della Dogana

Bruce Nauman: Contrapposto Studies

Bruce Nauman: Contrapposto Studies

From 23 May 2021 to 27 November 2022, Palazzo Grassi – Punta della Dogana presents a major exhibition dedicated to the US artist Bruce Nauman (1941, Indiana, USA) at Punta della Dogana.

Download the digital exhibition guide

Bruce Nauman: Contrapposto Studies" is curated by Carlos Basualdo, the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Caroline Bourgeois, curator at Pinault Collection. The exhibition is an homage to one of the major figures of the contemporary art international scene and focuses on three fundamental aspects of his oeuvre: the artist studio as a space where creation takes place, the body through performances and the exploration of sound.

Bruce Nauman was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2009 for Best National Participation and his work has recently been presented in numerous and major monographic exhibitions around the world. The unique exhibition at Punta della Dogana brings together older works and the most recent ones, some of which are new or have never been exhibited in Europe before.

The exhibition in Venice is focused on a series of recent video installations that Nauman has developed over the last years and are related to a single channel video from 1968, Walk with Contrapposto, in which we see the artist walk in a narrow wooden corridor built inside his studio while trying to maintain the contrapposto pose.

The series “Contrapposto Studies” (that includes “Contrapposto Studies I-VII”, 2015/16; “Walks In Walks Out”, 2015; “Contrapposto Split,” 2017, and “Walking the Line,” 2019), represents the first time in which Nauman has explicitly revisited an earlier work to use it as the point of departure for his practice. Initially, he aimed to go beyond the limits imposed by the technology available in the late 1960s, the time when he produced the first “Walk with Contrapposto”.

In the exhibition the earlier works establish a context for the reception of the "Contrapposto series", in order to facilitate an intuitive understanding of the logic of Nauman’s work and of the founding themes of this work: the sound, the performance, the artist’s studio. The exhibition invites the visitors to live an immersive experience through their sensory perception, body and mind, a fundamental process to fully understand Nauman’s artistic research.


Bruce Nauman Archive for the Future
A series of conversations entitled “Nauman Archive for the Future” with curators Carlos Basualdo and Caroline Bourgeois together with artists, art historians, dancers, performers and musicians from around the world accompanies the exhibition. They take the show in Venice as the starting point to reflect upon Bruce Nauman’s work and its potential future influence.

Philippe Parreno, Anne Imhof, Boris Charmatz, Paul Maheke, Élisabeth Lebovici, Ralph Lemon, Tatiana Trouvé, Teodor Currentzis, Lenio Kaklea, Elisabetta Benassi and Nairy Baghramian are the guests invited to take part to the debate.