Bruce Nauman 's One Hundred Live And Die Essay

1448 Words Dec 8th, 2016 6 Pages
Bruce Nauman’s One Hundred Live and Die, 1984, is an intricate piece combining the world of high art and the low art of advertisement using word play. It is a work containing one hundred words, fifty with “live” following them and fifty with “die,” in neon lights that light up individually, in rows, and then all together, creating visual patterns. The word combinations include actions, emotions, and colors. One Hundred Live and Die uses the game of language to leave the meaning of the work open for interpretation from the viewers and allows room for conversation. One Hundred Live and Die is a large wall installation that is 118 x 132 1/4 x 21 inches, consisting of neon tubing mounted on four metal monoliths. The intense neon words make it almost impossible to avoid for the viewers passing by. There are fifty actions, adjectives, or emotions that are to be done “and die” and fifty to be done “and live.” Some of the words included bring about pleasant or neutral thoughts, such as “speak,” “kiss,” and “laugh.” Alternatively, there are words like “fail,” “rage,” and “sick,” which have negative connotations, but are not as vulgar as some of the words included in the phrases, such as “fuck” and “piss.” While there is no clear pattern of the phrases chosen, there is no question of the goal to involve the viewer and invite them to experience the piece by reading the text, therefore contemplating the meaning. The title of the work gives nothing away, and the viewer must make sense…

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