Nauman’s work is based on experience of the self, conveyed by body and language. To make this untitled drawing–sculpture, he cut up sheets of paper and taped them together, constructing a work close to human scale. It is composed of drawn hands cropped at the wrists performing an easily legible sexual gesture. Unlike Nauman’s flashing neon–sign works with the same motif, the movement in this work is frozen, activating and frustrating the viewer’s voyeuristic position.
Gallery label from Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection, April 22, 2009–January 4, 2010.