The Art Of Clock

It’s about time we focus more on time don’t you think. To many humans, time is one of the scarcest commodities with a very high demand, many will say time is money as they and most times live their lives trying to beat it. 

Some of us are so conscious of time as we see it as an instrument of doom for we mark our progress and life with it as we give time not just the power to direct the tide of our lives but also we live by it, while some of us presume time as nothing other than an abstract thought, a creation from man’s mind and another cage or ideological point of view which the society uses to conduct and control our lives and as such we do not believe in the notion of following time as a means of living. 

Many views to time, many uses to time and many interpretations of time but the question is, whether as a doomsday instrument or a fiction of our mind or a societally constructed imprisoning ideology, have you ever actually stopped to see the beauty in time, to admire the process of movement and progression as represented in time? If your answer is no, well here we have a list of the most famous and beautiful art works with clocks which in a very peculiar way speak of time. 

Salvador Dali’s artwork, The Persistence of Memory (1931) also called ‘clocks’ is amongst the first we consider. A masterpiece of its time it seems to speak of the loss of power and influence of time on life as it images of clocks look lifeless and defeated raising the question of what really is the essence of time to life and what is life without time. 

As the Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion award in 2011, the video of “The Clock” by Christian Marclay brings to mind another dimension of time such as actually losing track of time in time. The video shows a filmed clip arranged to show the precise time in a 24hour cycle. 

Time as an interpretation of the issues going on in our society is another dimension to admiring the usage of clocks and time and this is what the 38-year-old Argentinian artist Agustina Woodgate did in her work named “National Times” which was featured on the promotional poster for the 2019 Whitney Biennial. On her perception of power and labor dynamics, she uses a row of clocks lined up on a wall where one hidden digital clock controls the other analog clocks, with the piece staying synchronized due to its master/slave configuration as she attempts to describe through art the effect that mindless and continued working has on those involved.

The expression that everything has its time and that time shall pass finds its meaning in Antonio de Perada’s painting which involves a clock, an hourglass, old photographs, a blown out candle which depict the significance of the passage of time as each image represents a moment in time in a progressive mode. 

Clocks are also used to represent human emotions almost especially synchronisation and perfect unions and such is viewed in Gonzalez-Torres’s “Untitled” which he dedicated to his deceased lover. Two clocks that work in unison and synchronization and that are in touch with each other as a representation of union. 

Alicja Kwade’s “Against the run” which is seen in Manhattan is an out of the ordinary clock with the numbers rotated about 90 degrees anticlockwise and and the hands rotate backwards. A point to show that our perceptions can be distorted and to question what truly is the reality of reality. 

The very complex yet understandable artwork “Escapement” is an horological mechanism from 

New Delhi’s Raqs Media Collective. Escapement has 24 clocks marking different time zones of the world. According to the artists Escapement functions like the valves of the heart and they further talk about the point of view with respect to the strong control that time has on our lives and not to forget the unique New Delhi clock that has words instead of numbers. 

Frans Hals’ portrait of a man holding a watch (1643) has a common interpretation of the era which talked and served  as a reminder that time moves constantly. 

John Menick’s technical alteration of a 24hours clock to run on a 28hours in his work giving time (2000) shows that time can be run at your own pace because it can be altered and not rule your life. 

Two shakes, a tick and a jiffy by the artist Julieta Aranda is a clock not of 12 hours but 10 hours and it raises the question of what individual perspectives of time could be and how it would be to enforce societal laws related to time. 

André Kertész’s clock of the académie française (1929) was as a result of the artists curiosity which generated the picture now owned by Getty. The image which he generated from the clock in his perspective displayed time as a compass for man to highlight moments and occurrences, to guide the sight and also as an instrument of navigation. 

Homage to Apollinaire (1912) by Marc Chagall is not precisely a regular clock but is presumed to resemble one. The artists love for the poet Guillaume Apollinaire inspired his work and perhaps it speaks of the eternity of love. 

The black marble clock (1869) by Paul Cezzane gives the notion that despite the rigidity of time and it’s ever conscious presence, there might still be a little time to relax and enjoy. 

We all know what it’s like to expect something and how it is to look forward to something and anticipate something and 

Horace Pippin’s artwork christmas morning, breakfast (1945) emphasises that. The anticipation of receiving presents on Christmas morning and the timekeeping we go through all night long brings good memories and shows mother sweet side to time.

Time truly is not just an element of control and rhythm but also a form of expressing various aspects of our life at varying stages. So enjoy the timely things you have now, for time changes and so do things.