Press Release

The Unilever Series: Bruce Nauman

Tate Modern  Turbine Hall
12 October 2004 – 28 March 2005

A mesmerising sound installation by Bruce Nauman, which fills the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, is unveiled today, 11 October 2004. For the fifth commission in the annual Unilever Series, Nauman has deployed a wide range of spoken texts in a way that orchestrates and measures the space of the Turbine Hall.

Raw Materials brings together twenty-one audio tracks which have previously been used in individual works over the past forty years. These texts range from deceptively simple explorations of the acoustic potential of single words repeated endlessly, as in No No No, to more complex texts which investigate more fully the human condition, such as
100 Live and Die. In the setting of the Turbine Hall, these different voices, some clearly audible, others indistinct and almost musical, merge with the voices of visitors.

Nauman often works with space, employing a diversity of means to control and sometimes disorientate visitors. He is interested in the way visitors behave in a given space and their self-awareness within a particular environment. In Raw Materials the installation is organised so that visitors encounter bands of sound that run across the width of the entire Turbine Hall. They are taken on a journey through the space, starting with the hard hitting and edgy Thank You Thank You, and culminating with the ironically hopeful World Peace. On the way, visitors will encounter an array of different forms of human speech from jokes and poems, to instructions and exhortations, some sung, some whispered, some chanted, some growled.

By bringing together sound and space in one work, Raw Materials suggests how language, via speech, inhabits the world and how the spoken word can reveal profound and moving insights into the human condition. Language has always played a central role in Nauman’s work in film, video, neon, sculpture and installation, drawings and prints. From early in his career, Nauman has had a strong interest in the work of the writer Samuel Beckett and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. He has remained fascinated by the possibility of language as a means of examining how human beings exist in the world and how they communicate or fail to communicate.

Bruce Nauman was born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He studied mathematics, physics, art and music at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and gained an MA in art at the University of California, Davis. He now lives and works on a ranch in northern New Mexico. His work is in private and public collections worldwide. Later this year he will be awarded the Praemium Imperiale award for sculpture. A full biography is available from the Tate press office.

The Unilever Series of commissions for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall has recently been extended for a further three years, until 2008, thanks to continued support from Unilever.

Open every day from 10.00 - 18.00 and late night until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday. Please note that the Turbine Hall will be closed on Saturday 6 November. For more information please call 020 7887 8008