Saturday, January 22, 2011

Christian Marclay's 24-hour video work: The Clock

So I just stumbled into the Paula Cooper Gallery on my way to the Gym at Chelsea Piers and I was transfixed by this strangely compelling film. I started watching at 4:20 pm and I soon realized that all of the clocks in the film said 4:20 pm. It took me a while to realize that time passed in the film just like real time!!! The film is composed of cut scenes drawn from the history of cinema and many recognizable actors and films are put in service of this clever conceit. I can rattle off a few that I can remember: Bette Davis, Humphey Bogart "Casablanca", Jack Nicholsen "About Schmidt"...
I plan to go back and see more as the show just opened and will close on February 19, 2011.

In The Clock, Marclay samples thousands of film excerpts indicating the passage of time. Spanning the range of timepieces, from clock towers to wristwatches and from buzzing alarm clocks to the occasional cuckoo, The Clock draws attention to time as a multifaceted protagonist of cinematic narrative. With virtuosic skill, the artist has excerpted each of these moments from their original contexts and edited them together to form a 24-hour montage, which unfolds in real time. While constructed from a dizzying variety of periods, contexts and film genres whose storylines seem to have shattered in a multitude of narrative shards, The Clock uncannily proceeds at a unified pace as if re-ordered by the latent narrative of time itself. Because it is synchronized with the local time of the exhibition space, the work conflates cinematic and actual time, revealing each passing minute as a repository of alternately suspenseful, tragic or romantic narrative possibilities.

No comments: