Bruce Nauman: Topological Gardens, the official U.S. entry to the 53rd Venice Biennale organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in collaboration with the Università Iuav di Venezia and the Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia. The installation was produced in Venice in collaboration with students and staff members of these universities, some of whom participated in the recordings that would give voice to this work, a recitation of the days of the week in permutations enriched by the distinctive timbre of the Italian language. The resulting installation becomes an experiment in rhythm, cadence, and progression. Nauman’s use of the days of the week as compositional elements recall the musical arrangements of John Cage, who expanded our understanding of music by using mundane sounds and noises in his work. Nauman has investigated sound as a tool to shape the viewer’s experience of space from early in his career. In 1967–68, he created his first sound work, Studio Aids II, which recorded the noises associated with the artist’s performance of various actions in his studio—jumping, walking, rolling, and playing the violin in staccato plucks. Over the last forty years, Nauman has explored sound as an experiential and material force as much as a medium of art. Notations/Bruce Nauman: Giorni is made possible by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Henry Luce Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts, with additional funding from Agnes Gund, Maja Oeri and Hans Bodenmann, Sperone Westwater Gallery, and many other Friends of Bruce Nauman.
Bruce Nauman, Giorni, 2009, in the Exhibition Gallery at the Museum’s Perelman Building. Artwork © 2009 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
CuratorsCarlos Basualdo • The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Curator of Contemporary Art
Erica F. Battle • Project Curatorial Assistant, Modern and Contemporary Art