In this work, shown on two stacked monitors, Bruce Nauman washes his hands with a thoroughness bordering on obsession. Each from a different vantage point, the two monitors present a simple everyday action, extended to fill almost an hour. The work is a self-portrait in which the hands serve as a metaphor for the artist’s creative potency. The camera’s unorthodox angle, the image’s shifting colors and the repetitive movement unite in giving this commonplace act an hypnotic effect. Bruce Nauman is particularly renowned for his video performances of the 1970s in which his body is the focus of improvised, repetitive acts. The works produced in the ‘90s refer back to the strategy he pursed in his earlier career.
c/o Pictoright Amsterdam/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam



Time-based media

Production date



Click here to view 19 related documents




video installation, colour, sound

Object number



Verworven met steun van de Vereniging Rembrandt en het Mondriaan Fonds / Acquired with the generous support of the Vereniging Rembrandt (Rembrandt Society) and the Mondriaan Foundation

Read more about the copyright of this artwork