Christian Marclay and Bill Viola: Two approaches to the concept of time [February 2019]
If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all” - John Cage
From September through to January 2019, the Tate Modern gallery was home to Christian Marclay’s acclaimed installation piece The Clock . Consisting of thousands of film and television clips of clocks, this epic 24-hour video montage runs on a continuous loop synchronised with real time.
Though missing out on the opportunity to gorge at one of the gallery’s selected 24-hour screenings, I did manage to make two trips to see the piece, taking in the hours 10:30 though to 14:30. At the end of January this year as The Clock drew to a close, across the river at the Royal Academy preparations were nearing completion on a new show titled Life Death Rebirth. An exhibition bringing together the video work of Bill Viola and the drawings of Michelangelo. Though working centuries apart, these two artists express a fascination for a similar set of grand, universal themes - the human condition, the body, soul, death and the afterlife. The exhibition opened in late-January and runs till the end of March.
The first thing that struck me with Marclay’s piece was the surreal playback space. A huge room donned with sofa seats arranged at periodic intervals, orderly, grid-like…
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