Tony Sinking into the Floor, Face Up, and Face Down

© Generali Foundation Collection—Permanent Loan to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg © Bildrecht

Bruce Nauman

Tony Sinking into the Floor, Face Up, and Face Down, 1973

Video, color, sound, 60 min


Artwork text

In this videotape, a companion to "Elke"..., the actor's task was to imagine himself sinking into the floor. The resulting images portray him stretched out on the floor, sometimes face up, sometimes face down, in a series of dissolves. Although the mental component of the exercise is not captured, Nauman has recounted the highly charged atmosphere of the shooting session: "He was lying on his back and after about fifteen minutes he started choking and coughing. He sat up and said, 'I did it too fast and scared myself.' He didn't want to do it again, but did it anyway. At another time we were watching his hand through the camera and it was behaving very strangely. We asked him about it later and he said that he was afraid to move his hand because he thought he might lose his molecules." (Electronic Arts Intermix)