The Clock, 2010 single-channel video, 24 hours, photo by Christian Marclay, courtesy the artist
On view through 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.
Itself a varied part of this artist’s output in a wide range of media (which includes sculpture, photography, collage, painting and performance), Christian Marclay’s video work often takes the form of virtuosic audiovisual collages made from film fragments. Starting with Telephones (1995), a rhythmic montage of clips from Hollywood films showing characters engaged in phone conversations, and continuing with the celebrated multi-screen masterpieces Video Quartet (2002) and Crossfire (2007), Marclay has consistently mined our movie culture and re-contextualized its fragments into compelling sonic and visual wholes.
In Shuffle, published by Aperture, he has extensively photographed the appearance of musical notation in the world: on shop awnings, chocolate tins, T-shirts, underwear, and other unexpected places.