Audio transcript

Bruce Nauman 'Violent Incident'

Narrator: Bruce Nauman was born in the United States in 1941. Early in his career he turned away from painting and towards media such as performance, installation and film. The wall of video monitors in this room is one of his best-known works, 'Violent Incident'. The actress Fiona Shaw

I've been in so many rehearsal rooms in my life where this sort of scene is being enacted or practiced, and initially when I saw it, it reminded me of evening rehearsals because often those two-handed scenes are kept for the evening, when there's just a just a director, no stage management, just two actors, and people get fairly frustrated with each other and they either do the work badly and I was excited when it went into that slow moving marking version which you'll see in the upper left hand screen initially, where they're just playing it out, really as though the director has directed beat by beat. A rehearsal room is a very good place, it's a sort of free space, very like an art space where there is no morality, and so a man in a tweed jacket can either have dinner with a woman in a red top, or a blue top, or he can start to attack her, or vice versa. Somebody once said plays begin on the day that something went wrong, and as you approach this installation you know that something has gone wrong because they're in the frenetic rhythm of madness or discomfort, and what's very pleasing then as your eye adjusts to that, you see that there are different rhythms, so there's a kind of there's a rhythm in the picture because every now and then the diagonal will start telling you what to look at - you'll see a dominant diagonal, suddenly the image stops or shifts on the diagonal and remains the same, and sometimes you realise there's a bit on the far-right that you don't understand, it's in slow motion on the left-hand side, so the artist is absolutely stroking you into understanding it at the same time as keeping you barraged with the multiplicity of it.