In the 1990s Tate Gallery, London began thinking about opening a new gallery to house their international contemporary art collection. The Tate gallery’s offspring, Tate Modern found its home in a disused power station at Bankside. Architecture firm Herzog & De Meuron were commissioned to re-design the grand industrial building to make it suitable for use as an art gallery. They left many original features intact including what became known as the Turbine Hall.
Since opening its doors in 2000, Tate Modern has commissioned renowned contemporary artists to make work to fill the vast space of the Turbine Hall. Famous artists that have produced work include Louise Bourgeois, Anish Kapoor, and Rachel Whiteread. The work produced is usually a monumental sculpture, which fills the void of the expansive hall. This is the common approach, except for one artist, Bruce Nauman, who used only sound.
Bruce Nauman has worked and exhibited prolifically since the 70s. His chosen mediums are diverse and include sculpture, video and print making. The work often uses text and/or images to examine the nature of life psychologically, spiritually, poetically or prosaically.
In his Turbine hall piece entitled Raw Materials, Nauman used 22 spoken texts taken from his existing video and film works to create an aural collage. The vocal tracks were played through separate speakers at different points along the along the turbine hall. At some points it was possible to hear serveral pieces blending into one another, as one was played louder than another. This changed the original meanings of each spoken text through the new juxtaposition. A humorous piece combined with a more psychologically disturbing piece to create new and interesting meaning.