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Ugo Rondinone

red white black clock, 2012
stained-glass window, wire
diamètre 50.0 x 0.7 cm
A hybrid piece half-way between a dartboard and a clock, red white black clock is composed of a round, steel frame containing a simplified face, made out of stained glass panels. Lacking hands, the clock no longer seems able to perform its original purpose. Suspended by a wire in an unconventional way, without respecting the usual vertical alignment with the XII, it disrupts our visual habits as though to remind us that the units of time conceived by humans, and which we use to order and to dictate our lives, are ultimately arbitrary.

Destined to be hung in front of a window and lit by natural light, it evokes a pre-mechanical age, when the sun’s path through the sky was the only way for human beings to measure the passage of time. Encouraging us to reconsider our conception of time and inducing us to become aware of the ephemeral nature of existence, this clock acts like an open window on an immobilised temporality, which refuses to be subjected to the hectic rhythm of our contemporary lives.

The medium used – glass – is justified by its ability to let light pass through it, but also recalls the traditional and ancestral technique of stained glass. As though to better shield himself from passing time, and driven by a certain disposition towards nostalgia, Ugo Rondinone likes to turn to the past, to return to antiquated practices and materials no longer in use. The notion of temporality holds a dominating place in his oeuvre, while playing an ambivalent role. Although Rondinone likes to evoke the idea of abstract time, he nevertheless remains very attached to real time, to lived time, constantly attempting to capture the fleetingness of existence and to make the instant become material. Often connected to a precise day in his own life, his artworks make up the memories of an artist concerned with leaving a trace behind him.
Ugo Rondinone, red white black clock, Horloge rouge blanche noire, 2012