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  • Provenance

    Sprüth Magers, London

  • Catalogue Essay

    Bruce Nauman’s acclaimed oeuvre comprises a vast range of media, including video, installation, neon lighting, drawing, sculpture, sound pieces and performances. His practice demonstrates an interest in the nature of communication, language and its intrinsic problems, issues that are often expressed in a playful and wicked way.
     
    As one of the most influential living artists, Bruce Nauman’s work is considered by most critics to be provocative, inventive and challenging, although some, such as Blake Gponik, refer to him as a contemporary classic. The American artist was recently awarded the prestigious Golden Lion as the US representative in the Venice Biennale 2009.
     
    The present lot, a graphite drawing depicting two pairs of disembodied and elegant hands resembles a later work entitled Fifteen Pairs of Hands (1996), presented at the Venice Biennale in 2009. The simple, graceful lines are characteristic in Nauman’s drawing, which make him come across as a “Post-minimalist artist, whose drawings are made with a minimum of fuss in order to record an idea or to see what something will look like” (R. Smith, ‘Art: Bruce Nauman Retrospective’, New York Times, 30 October 1987). Indeed, the one of the traits in Bruce Nauman’s oeuvre is the power of ideas over formal resolution.
     
    “The apparent rawness of Nauman’s work is … not the antithesis of craft but a declaration of faith in simplicity and directness, especially when the fundamental poetics of the piece would be compromised by superfluous ‘poetic’ refinements.”
     
    (R. Storr, ‘Bruce Nauman, the man who would not be king’, Modern Painters, pp. 42–47, 1 May 2009)

125

Untitled (hands)

1993
Graphite on paper.
56.5 x 76.8 cm (22 1/4 x 30 1/4 in).
Signed and dated 'B. Nauman 93' lower right.

Estimate
£30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for £39,650

Contemporary Art Day

13 Feb 2010
London