Bruce Nauman: Architectural Installation

Bruce Nauman: Architectural Installation

Acclaimed international artist Bruce Nauman’s Natural Light, Blue Light Room is on display at Blain Southern, London, for the first time since its original presentation in 1971. A landmark piece and significant architectural installation, Natural Light, Blue Light Room is one of the earliest instances of the artist producing built environments to discomfort and disorientate the audience.

Comprised of skylights accompanied by blue fluorescent lights, the artwork alters the viewer’s ability to perceive the space clearly. Whilst representative of the familiar minimalist aesthetic of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Natural Light, Blue Light Room also acts as a reminder of the alternative concepts that concerned Nauman at the time. Alongside the idea of pairing a piece or object down to the bare minimum, the artist also focused on subtle atmospheric changes that could be employed to create a particular physical or psychological experience for the viewer.

By utilising the natural phenomena of light, temperature or space in a sculpture or image, inside of simply representing it, the artist plays with the audiences’s senses and their perceptive abilities. Upon entering the gallery space, viewers undergo a physical response to the empty space and unfamiliar light put before them. With time, they are able to differentiate between the two light sources: the natural daylight and blue fluorescent lights. This cognitive experience continues to develop as the audience member witnesses the shifting daylight outside and its effects on their own interaction and understanding of the space that they inhabit.

Bruce Nauman, Natural Light, Blue Light Room, until 12 November, Blain Southern, London.

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1. Bruce Nauman, Natural Light, Blue Light Room, 1971, Installation View, 2016, © Bruce Nauman 2016, Photo: Peter Mallet.