Since the mid-1960s, Bruce Nauman has questioned traditional
ways of making art, rethinking what an artist might do and what art can be. The way he approaches art differs from artists who go to their studios
to make paintings or sculptures
. Instead, Nauman thinks of art as a type of research or investigation. He is interested in the ways that ideas and activities can be transformed into works of art. Nauman has often used his own body in his work and he has recorded his activities in his studio with photography and video. Self Portrait as a Fountain
is part of a series
of eleven photographs about language, puns
, and humor.
This photograph shows the artist doing a kind of performance in which he is the work of art! His raised arms and open hands imitate the pose
of nude statues often found on decorative fountains. Here, Nauman also acts like a fountain by sending a jet of water from his mouth into the air.