Clown Torture (I'm Sorry and No, No, No)


Installation of 2 videotapes on 3/4 inch NTSC

Video (Part 1 : I'm Sorry): 60min. 2sec. Video (Part 2 : No no no): 95min. 57sec.

Two screens are placed in front of each other. On one, a clown repeats the following sentences: “I’m sorry for what I did. I don’t know why I did it.” On the opposite screen, a Pierrot clown shouts relentlessly “No. No. No.” In the middle of this intractable aporia, the viewer is caught between comedy and tragedy.

By touching on sensitive issues such as confinement, mental alienation, surveillance and torture, Bruce Nauman created with Clown Torture a striking and moving artwork. By subverting the image of the clown from its usual function and playing on repetition, the artist creates a stifling, distressing situation. He also questions us on the limitations of human communication.

Held in the Pinault Collection, the Clown Torture video installation was shown for the first time in 2006 at the Where Are We Going? exhibition at Palazzo Grassi, in Venice.