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Bruce Nauman, Poke in the Eye/Nose/Ear 3/8/94 Edit (1994)


Walker Art Center



Institution Walker Art Center
"Self-exposure does not make good art."--Bruce Nauman

In 1969 Bruce Nauman began working with a high-speed industrial camera that was able to shoot up to 4,000 frames per second. With this equipment he documented himself performing simple activities in the studio and then changed the projection speed to extreme slow motion. These "Slo-Mo" films were usually short, black-and-white documents of Nauman manipulating parts of his body: stretching his lips with his fingers, for example, or pulling a length of gauze from his mouth.

Poke in the Eye/Nose/Ear is a continuation of the Slo-Mo films. In this video work, Nauman records his face in closeup as he methodically pokes himself in the eye, nose, and ear. By enlarging the image, slowing down the pace of the video, and focusing on the feature he is manipulating, he grossly exaggerates the brutality of the activity, transforming a straightforward, almost mundane action into a prolonged essay on human vulnerability.

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Type: Commentary, object label
Source: Label text for Bruce Nauman, Poke in the Eye/Nose/Ear 3/8/94 Edit (1994), from the exhibition Selections from the Permanent Collection, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, December 8, 1996 to April 4, 1999.
Rights: Copyright 1998 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: March 1, 2009