Bruce Nauman at The Tate Modern

Waldemar Januszczak at Waldemar Januszczak:

Back on planet Earth, in the show itself there is no limitless space-time, just a succession of powerful slabs of Nauman in which he swaps techniques, changes methods, explores materials, alternates moments of peace with bouts of heavy slapping, and never lets up in a madcap journey of artistic exploration usually set in darkness.

“My work comes out of being frustrated about the human condition,” he explained in 1988. “And about how people refuse to understand other people.” Fretful minimalism for the midnight hour?

What is immediately tangible is how influential he has been. It’s most obvious in the neon pieces that stud the show. Nauman started working with neon in 1965, using it to make a slippery word-art that keeps switching meanings. EAT, says a green neon sign, before changing to blue and saying DEATH.

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