Bruce Nauman Lip Sync 1969

  • Not on view

In Bruce Nauman's Lip Sync, a video camera is turned upside down and held in a tight close–up on the filmmaker's face as he speaks the words of the title. The words, which at first emerge in a low murmur, quickly grow louder and more distinct, overwhelming the sound track and creating a rhythmic beat. The sound and image fall in and out of synchronization as the viewer tries vainly to connect the movement of Nauman's lips with his voice. This struggle intensifies as the work progresses, keeping the viewer in a state of nervous tension. Ultimately, the artist and the viewer become participants in a dance, both physical and intellectual, that is never reconciled, and in which moving images and sounds spiral around each other until the piece's conceptual framework appears ready to implode—yet never does.

Publication excerpt from In Still Moving: The Film and Media Collections of the Museum of Modern Art by Steven Higgins, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2006, p. 248.
Video (black and white, sound)
57 min.
Acquired through the generosity of Barbara Pine
Object number
© 2024 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy Video Data Bank, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Media and Performance

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