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United States of America born 1941

Flesh to white to black to flesh 1968 Title Notes: Master tape. Not to be used. Display copies for exhibition and study purposes are IRNs 144029, 150138 and 151208. If required for loan, the status must be checked.
Materials & Technique: audiovisual, multimedia, Video (black and white, sound, 51 minutes) Support: Digital Betacam (PAL format) video cassette

Dimensions: Duration 51.00 h minutes
Cat Raisonné: BNCR 110
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1995
Accession No: NGA 2002.586

In a single, 51-minute take, Nauman covers his body and face in white cold cream and then black make up, before removing both layers. This act of redundant self-transformation (we basically end up where we started) represents one of the great moments in American performance art, in that through painting and erasing the black and white pigment, Nauman becomes in turn the sculptor and the sculpture, object and shadow, figure and ground. He demonstrates that, certainly by 1968, the idea of a fixed, coherent artistic identity had passed.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra