Press-Republican

Out & About

March 20, 2014

MACM presents former Venice Biennale top prize winner

Works by Christian Marclay, Adrian Paci on display

MONTREAL — Do you have the time? Settle in cause this could take all day. Seriously.

Musee d’Art Contemporain Montreal currently offers a collection of eclectic collages, ethereal videos and a clever take on the clock.

‘THE CLOCK’

First up, MACM offers “The Clock” by abstract video artist Christian Marclay. While the premise seems simple, the result offers a testament to time itself.

I’ll admit I didn’t exactly know what I was in for with “The Clock.” I arrived at the museum near opening time, just after 11 a.m., and entered the screening room to an already packed house: the space seats 45 with a total hall capacity of 80. On display was a series of film and television clips that played particular scenes with one prominent feature: a clock. In that first few minutes, surprisingly, each clock on the screen displayed the time, which was now about 11:10 a.m. — the same time that was on my watch.

Well there’s a coincidence.

Not exactly.

A few minutes more passed when I whispered to the kind security guard standing next to me, “How long is this video?”

“Twenty four hours long,” she simply replied.

Oh. OH! My own inner alarm clock just went off.

Marclay and his assistants spent three years gathering thousands of film and television clips, the press release says. Marclay then edited the clips to precisely coincide with the exact time of day, so whenever “The Clock” plays, that’s what time it is. For his efforts, Marclay won the Golden Lion, the top prize awarded at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

It’s actually quite fun to watch and try to recognize the film and television clips. Some were more obscure foreign flicks, but many offered familiar faces, too, like Peter Falk getting a physical, Paul Newman eating breakfast in bed, and Ryan O’ Neal carrying a very recognizable red plaid overnight bag from “What’s Up Doc?”

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