Curated by D. Ashlee Harrison,
Director, Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Time is money. Time is fleeting. Time is precious. Time heals. Time is of the essence. Time is an illusion. We make time. We take time. We spend time. We race against time. We fight time. We try to control it – speeding it up, slowing it down. It’s just a matter of time.
Perhaps if there is one lesson to be learned in this moment, it is that we must surrender to the here and now. With the entire world seemingly forced into pause, we cannot help but reevaluate how we look at time, and what it means to us as individuals and a society. When the future feels uncertain and we are forced to question the preconditions of life as we know it, we have to remain in the present—the only reality we know to be true is that the Time Is Now.
There is no better time to reflect, to take action, or to truly live in the present. We believe in art’s power as a portal into the “now”, capable of transporting us into the present through the beauty of the unseen or unimagined.
This constellation of works, carefully selected from the archives of Carpenters Workshop Gallery, delves into various perspectives and concepts of time, questioning our place within it. Artists featured in the exhibition carry on in the tradition of the scientists and philosophers that have contemplated, analyzed, and conceptualized time over thousands of years, engaging the concept across a variety of forms and media—from sculptural timepieces to conceptual installation.
The Time Is Now situates a diverse group of works in dialogue with one another, revealing several common themes that unite each artist’s approach to the topic of time.
Certain works address time’s ability to create structure and set parameters, exploring its role as a marker of the past, present, and future. In a literal sense, life’s milestones are measured by hours and minutes past midnight or noon, days, months, seasons, or years. Clocks and timepieces play an important role in creating this order, but can also tell a story about the lived experiences they track. Examples include two sculptural pieces from Maarten Baas’ ongoing Real Time Series, which integrate narrative and performance with the rotation of the clock, as well as Studio Job’s Big Ben Aftermath and Time Bomb that serve as both totem narrative and working timepieces.
Several works study the ephemeral nature of time, attempting to capture the fleeting moment where time stands still. Examples include Random International’s Temporary Printing Machine, which captures a large-scale representation of the person standing before it that begins to fade almost as soon as it emerges; Vincent Dubourg’s Rupture and Commode Inner Vortex, works which appear to be frozen in the midst of explosion, as if being sucked into a vortex; Ocean Memories, a circular table work by Mathieu Lehanneur that evokes a surreal and materialized vision of an ocean frozen in its movement; DRIFT’s Fragile Future 3.16, a three-dimensional sculpture, consisting of bronze electrical circuits connected to a light emitting dandelions, that represents the preservation and infinite cycles of life; and Sebastian Braikovic’s Lathe V, through which the artist pays tribute to the past and looks towards the future through the combination of modern techniques with classical shapes and an artisanal use of materials.
Additional works question the reality and existence of time, including two pieces from Robert Stadler’s 24H series: 24h Linda and 24h Paulista. Hybrids of light-box photographs and a mural clock, each work distorts a straightforward reading of time.
Michael Craig Martin’s Timetable and Paul Smith’s The Hurrier I Go The Behinder I Get, both office desks, playfully allude to how we can literally work around the clock. Occasionally, with our rigorous schedules we can feel in the boxing ring, like with Morgan Tschiember’s Fighting Against Time.
Other works speak to the necessity or “time” for change, symbolizing a hope for a revolution of consciousness and the awakening of more mindful beings. Atelier Van Lieshout/ Joep Van Lieshout continually investigates the cycles of life that are born through the passage of time and the end or destruction of systems; while his clock sculpture Pendulum is designed to destroy and change so as to make way for the potential of new beginnings, his scepter-like Walking Stick 5 Hourglass reflects on the path to the future.
Ultimately, the works included in the exhibition ask us to consider where we sit within time—Is it in Ron Arad’s After Spring, Before Summer or in Wendell Castle’s Is It Tomorrow (Left, Right) Who are we? Where are we going? How do we want to be? And what will tomorrow bring? Only time will tell. The answers to these conundrums… we may never know.
— D. Ashlee Harrison
Director, Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Two pieces from Maarten Baas’ ongoing Real Time Series, Grandfather Clock – the Father and Sweepers Mantel Clock, integrate narrative and performance with the rotation of the clock. The forms of Baas’ sculptures directly reference time pieces, while the video elements included in each reveal various character archetypes and personalities that perform the act of telling time, in ‘Real Time’.
Likewise, Studio Job’s Big Ben Aftermath presents a gilded, polished, patinated, and painted bronze sculpture that is both totem narrative and a working timepiece. Job has long held an affinity for clocks, often imbedding them into his sculptures with satirical humor and historical or pop cultural references. Through this work, Job tells a story centered around one of the one of the most iconic timepieces of the world: London’s Big Ben. His protagonist is delicately balanced beneath the aftermath of the 2005 Double-Decker Bus bombings, holding itself from crumbling unto the Parliament below. Job’s work sensationalizes an unprecedented moment in history, one that almost brought the great nation to its knees.