Tel Aviv Museum of Art: Christian Marclay’s The Clock

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The Tel Aviv Museum of Art will host three 24-hour screenings of Christian Marclay’s mesmerizing video installation The Clock on the following dates: March 22, April 26, and May 10, 2018. Admission to the museum will be free on these dates from 21:00 until 10:00 the following day.

From the video installation The clock 2010 – Courtesy of the artist

Director and Chief Curator of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art Suzanne Landau discussed the work at a press screening held at the museum this week, saying, “Marclay’s video installation is a fascinating, groundbreaking, monumental, work. Composed of thousands of excerpts from films, with a reference to a second, minute or hour in each excerpt, creating a 24-hour collage. It is important to note that the video is synchronized to real time. Each time the work is shown in a different place, it is synchronized to the local time in that region.”

Landau further notes that although Marclay included scenes from a variety of eras and genres, these differences do not pose a problem for the viewer.

“This is the greatness of the work,” Landau said, “the transitions between the works are so smooth, it’s amazing. I don’t think you see it on the first viewing. I really recommend seeing it more than once. Not just for the visual connections, but for the sound.”

Marclay has a background in music, as well as visual arts. In the 1970s, his work mixing sounds using records and turntables to create sound collages has been called pioneering, and was developed independently of hip hop’s use of turntables as an instrument. In The Clock, he has not only incorporated the soundtracks of the different segments, merging them into a seamless collage, but in some instances added new sound.

Marclay worked on The Clock with a team of six people who looked at hours of footage for relevant excerpts with references to time. Going over the excerpts, Marclay made his selections, and began the task of editing them into a whole.

“I know that there were seconds or minutes in which he had several options and had to choose,” said Landau, adding that “Taking the excerpts out of their context creates a new narrative. The work as a whole is a metaphor for time, a kind of memento mori. As we watch, we see our time and our lives pass by.”

Suzanne Landau’s acquaintance with the artist goes back many years. They worked on a project together in 1992, when Landau was at the Israel Museum. At the time, Marclay participated in a group exhibition of seven artists, creating the installation Echo and Narcissus, in which he covered the floor of one of the galleries with CDs.

“In 2010 when he showed The Clock at White Cube in London, I was one of the first to see it,” said Landau, “I knew that this work had to come to the museum, and it was also clear that the museum could not purchase it alone. The Israel Museum purchased The Clock together with the Tate Modern and the Pompidou Museum.”

The Clock will be on exhibit through May 19, 2018. Since it is not possible to see the work in its entirety during museum hours, the museum will hold three 24-hour screenings, on March 22, April 26, and May 10, 2018. Admission to the museum will be free on these dates from 21:00 until 10:00 the following day. As The Clock is a very popular work, it is possible, depending on the hour, that one may have to wait in line to enter the viewing room.

For additional information, contact the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.