Canadian Art

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Christian Marclay: It’s Time

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa Feb 10 to Mar 25 2012
Christian Marclay  <em>The Clock</em> 2010 Video still Courtesy the artist, White Cube London and Paula Cooper Gallery New York Christian Marclay The Clock 2010 Video still Courtesy the artist, White Cube London and Paula Cooper Gallery New York

Christian Marclay <em>The Clock</em> 2010 Video still Courtesy the artist, White Cube London and Paula Cooper Gallery New York

One of the big gets of 2011 for the National Gallery of Canada was Christian Marclay’s The Clock, which earned the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in June.

A co-acquisition with the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Clock has been estimated to contain upwards of 17,000 film clips, all meticulously edited together to create a 24-hour video that traces each passing minute using onscreen timepieces. So whether you’re reading the hands of an ancient grandfather clock in a black and white movie or listening to Matthew Broderick read the time off a digital display in a 1980s flick, your own wristwatch will reflect that exact time of day.

The Clock—which is actually an installation with a specific array of 15 white couches provided alongside the video—may also prove to be reflective not just of the movement of clock time, but the mood settling over viewers at different points in the day. (At 3:15am, for instance, the actors onscreen may be just as haggard and restless as the viewers on site.)

Whether visitors are interested in settling down to watch whole 24 hours, or want to stop by just to catch a snippet, there will be opportunities in Ottawa over the coming month. Full 24-hour screenings will take place at the National Gallery starting March 1, 8, 15 and 22 at 10am, running until 5pm the following day. A portion of the work will also screen Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm until March 25.

This article was first published online on February 23, 2012.

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