David Claerbout. the time that remains / Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London
May 30 – August 10, 2012
Preview: 30 May 2012, 6.30 – 9 pm.
On 30 May 2012, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art will preview a solo exhibition dedicated to the filmic works of the Belgian artist David Claerbout. The exhibition features works spanning Claerbout’s practice from 2000 to the present. The time that remains will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in a London public gallery.
Claerbout situates his striking work between the complex worlds of digital photography and film, investigating this intermediate area in concise and thought-provoking installations. Claerbout’s films often depict everyday activities or events, which once digitally manipulated negate the linear passage of time. His work questions the viewer’s conventional ideas of time and narrative processes.
Filmed in a house designed by contemporary architect Rem Koolhaas and using the same episode shot at ten-minute intervals from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Bordeaux Piece, 2004, lasts nearly fourteen hours. Three actors repeat flat dialogue and use dramatic gestures. They seem to be the protagonists of the work, but as time goes by the narrative slowly collapses into the movement of the sun and the changing light of day. A different sense of time is created and the protagonist is now the natural world. This work contains Claerbout’s first use of dialogue.
The Algiers’ Sections of a Happy Moment, 2008, is set on a small soccer pitch on a roof of the Algiers casbah. Young men, surrounded by a group of elderly people, pause in their game as one of the players feeds a flock of eager seagulls. The succession of images in this ‘happy moment’ provides a reflection on what Claerbout terms ‘the suspicious gaze’. The artist uses the passage of time as a tool for moderating that suspicious gaze, and more generally as a means of reconsidering what we see.
Set within the rigorous architecture of Skywood House, near Denham in the UK, Sunrise, 2009, takes the viewer into near-total darkness. The film depicts a nocturnal scene inside the villa, where a maid goes about her usual routine while the inhabitants sleep. The camera follows her through the course of her work and finally films her as she cycles home along a country road under the rising sun, accompanied by an imposing piece of music by Rachmaninov.