Room 9

Beginning with the formal perfection of the cube, the exhibition has shown how individual artists have challenged the whole notion of art as static object. Throughout the exhibition, works of art have revealed an engagement with the outside world; and, in turn, they have demanded a level of engagement from the viewer, both physical and psychological. Going Around the Corner Piece 1970, by American artist Bruce Nauman, seems to sum up this elusive encounter between art and life, object and viewer. Taking the cube and turning it into an architectural structure, Nauman creates a work that is both physically and intellectually disorienting. Video cameras and monitors on each corner record viewers as they negotiate the structure. Their contribution to the work is essential: they become the performers, the subject being filmed. However, Nauman denies them a view of their own participation: the camera is aimed at their back, so they can never quite catch up; they are always just out of sight. Like rats in an experimental maze, viewers become part of an interactive system that is an absurd enactment of frustration and failure.