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Thursday, 18 November 2010

Christian Marclay at The White Cube: The Clock


The Clock is a very special piece of work by artist Christian Marclay that I feel privileged to have seen. I only wish I could have visited the exhibition earlier in its run, so others could have seen my review and experienced it for themselves. Although I hear that the 'film' is now being shown in Nottingham, and I think it is so good it is almost worth the trek.

Essentially this work of art is an example of film collage, but I will include a quote from the White Cube Gallery (where it was shown) to explain it better:

‘The Clock is constructed out of moments in cinema when time is expressed or when a character interacts with a clock, watch or just a particular time of day. Marclay has excerpted thousands of these fragments and edited them so that they flow in real time. While The Clock examines how time, plot and duration are depicted in cinema, the video is also a working timepiece that is synchronised to the local time zone. At any moment, the viewer can look at the work and use it to tell the time.’

The construction of this idea is immaculately realised and seamlessly presented. Despite lacking narrative coherence the visual and audio clips work with many elements of association so the viewer can follow recurring themes. Clocks of every kind are used in such an entrancing way I wanted to stay and watch it all day. I recognised the occasional clip, Hugh Grant was featured at one point, and I’m sure if I’d stayed all day I would have seen many more celebrity actors. However the parts I enjoyed most were the older, more obscure moments of film, some of which must have come from the earliest days of the cinema.

I visited from 1.15-2.15 pm on Saturday afternoon, the final day of the show. And as befits this time of day, I watched characters rushing to appointments, eating lunch, being late, meeting friends. It truly was one of the most mesmerising pieces of art I have ever seen.

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