The Evanescence of Things
The Evanescence of Things, 2003–
Length and presentation variable
This video installation assembles sequences drawn from a large body of material recorded during journeys, trips and daily rambles. Extremely short and formally refined, the videos focus on details captured on the fly. They are conceived as “short visual poems,” “perceptive haikus” in which “time seems to be suspended or denotes a tension, a discordance between the original recording and its restitution.” The blurring of time is accentuated by the layout the artist designed for the exhibition Out-Of-Sync. The Paradoxes of Time, at Mudam Luxembourg, Luxembourg, in 2011: Presenting the videos on multiple monitors positioned in the space suggests the existence of “simultaneous but asynchronous times” and implies that this is due to the layout, pro posing, in the artist’s words, “a geography of time at once mental and physical.”
Mudam Luxembourg, Luxembourg
OUT-OF-SYNC – THE PARADOXES OF TIME
17.02.2011 – 22.05.2011
Christophe Gallois, Marie-Noëlle Farcy, Clément Minighetti
The Out-of-Sync exhibition broaches the sweeping issue of the place taken up by the dimension of time in the visual arts from a specific angle: it is concerned with works in which several temporalities coexist, overlap, contradict one another, thus developing a paradoxical relationship to time. Through this interest in what the philosopher Elie During, in his recent book Faux Raccords, calls “times out-of-tune” [“les temps désaccordés”], the works brought together in the show are not meant to illustrate or define the notion of time. On the contrary, they offer us an experience of its elusive nature.
The time-related figures of non-synchrony, disjunction and delay play a significant part in works produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Their development went hand-in-hand with the rise of the moving image in the visual arts, marked by the emergence of video and the growing use of film by artists, together with the busy dialogue struck up between the various art disciplines, focusing in particular on questions of time and process. The Out-of-Sync exhibition brings together a series of key works from that period, linked, dialogue-like, with more recent works illustrating the topicality of this question in contemporary artistic practices.
The matter of recording is central to the show. By way of straightforward techniques, the works on view in Out-of-Sync highlight the way the recording of time and its recreation may give rise to unconventional temporal forms. The installation Present Continuous Past(s) (1974) by Dan Graham is emblematic of this approach: using a video system which retransmits a picture of the exhibition area with a lapse of a few seconds, it offers us a perception of an “extended present time”. A similar time-frame is conjured up by Laurent Montaron’s Melancholia (2005): taking the form of a Space-Echo - a musical analogue device designed to produce echo and reverberation effects - displayed like a bas-relief in a pierced niche at the base of a wall, the work presents our eye with the ever-changing loops produced by its magnetic tape.
Another important aspect of the exhibition, underscored by the title Out-of-Sync - indicating a discrepancy or lapse between sound and image -, is the place taken up in it by the sonic and musical fields. Bruce Nauman and Dan Graham have regularly compared the dimension of time in their early works with the musical output of composers like Steve Reich, whose “phasing” technique, based on the superposition of several identical lines of sound played at slightly differing speeds, foreshadows the use of a time delay in pieces like Bruce Nauman’s Lip Sync (1969). This interest in complex forms of time possibly suggested by the musical fields occurs, in particular, in the activities of Manon de Boer, several of whose films take as their point of departure musical works such as John Cage’s 4’33” and Béla Bartók’s Sonata for Solo Violin Sz. 117, as well as in works by Anri Sala, whose video diptych After Three Minutes (2007) plays with the clash between the beat of a cymbal lit by a stroboscopic light and the frequencies peculiar to video recording.
Manon de Boer, David Claerbout, Tony Conrad, Valie Export, Marco Godinho, Dan Graham, David Lamelas, Laurent Montaron, Bruce Nauman, Anri Sala, Hiroshi Sugimoto