CHRISTIAN MARCLAY, The Clock — 29 March - 3 June 2012 @ MCA

Christian Marclay’s groundbreaking 24-hour video work, The Clock, which has attracted record crowds wherever it has been shown and gained numerous credits from art critics, was awarded the prestigious Golden Lion for best artist at last year’s 54th Venice Biennale.

Just as the sentences in a novel build into patterns and story lines, so did Marclay’s clips. Marclay spent three years assembling “The Clock,” that comprises several thousand short extracts from cinema history, each suggesting a particular time of day or referencing a specific moment, often through the appearance of a watch or clock-face. They are edited together to form a continuous visual sequence synchronised with the real time of visitors in the gallery who watch the film; and they suggest countless interlocking narratives despite the constant changes in genres, eras, locations and plotlines. The result marks the exact time in real time for the viewer for 24 consecutive hours.

The Clock highlights the centrality of time within conventional cinematic narratives – the way it binds stories together and leads us through their events. Yet by the same token, cinema traditionally immerses viewers within an illusory sense of time, suspending momentarily the real time of the world outside. The Clock creates an uncanny correspondence between cinematic and real time, drawing viewers into a parallel awareness of what they watch on screen and experience beyond it.

Each hour of “The Clock” has a unique rhythm. Marclay has taken one of the most objective measurements humans have ever devised, one that now strictly governs our working lives, and found poetry and mystery inside hard numbers…

Christian Marclay was born in California in 1955 and grew up in Switzerland. He now lives between London and New York. He is an internationally acclaimed artist who has employed the concept of collage since the 1970s across diverse media including film and video, photography, installation, sound and music.

Image © Christian Marclay, The Clock, 2010. Courtesy White Cube, London and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Curator: Rachel Kent

Read more:

  1. Daniel Zalewski, The Hours: How Christian Marclay created the ultimate digital mosaic. Daniel Zalewski, Night Shift with The Clock.

  2. Peter Bradshaw, Christian Marclay’s The Clock: A masterpiece of our times. This staggering artistic montage telling the time in film and TV clips will run on in your thoughts.

  3. Richard B. Woodward, Twenty-Four Hour View Cycle: A superb movie involves us so convincingly in an illusory world that the more prosaic one never enters our thoughts.

  4. MCAArtnews, LACMA 

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