Nature provided us with a general way to measure time: dividing it into days, lunar months, and seasons. Since ancient times, however, we have invented ways of measuring time in smaller units with ever-increasing precision – from the sundial to the hourglass to the atomic clock. As clock making technology advanced during the Renaissance, handsome public clocks became a source of civic pride, as well as a useful amenity. In today’s digital age, they more often evoke a sense of nostalgia for another era.
In Against the Run, Alicja Kwade (b. 1979, Katowice, Poland) has created a clock that tells the correct time, but does so in a way that confounds expectations. Adapting a nineteenth-century design that we might typically see in New York City, the artist has reversed the conventional mechanism. The face of the clock rotates backwards while the second hand appears to stand still, pointing vertically at all times. Our understanding of how a clock should run is second nature, making this variation almost impossible to read, even as it continues to tell the right time. Kwade’s whimsical clock captures her interest in the systems we invent to make sense of our lives and the world. In doing so, it prompts us to see “reality” from a new perspective.
This exhibition is curated by Nicholas Baume
Doris C. Freedman Plaza
Central Park, 60th Street & 5th Avenue
About the Artist
Alicja Kwade (b. 1979, Katowice, Poland) lives and works in Berlin. Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at Kunstverein St. Gallen, Switzerland (2014); Kunstverein Bremerhaven, Germany (2013); Villa Tokyo, Japan (2011); and Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2008), among other institutions. Her work has also been presented in numerous group shows at institutions including Kunst Museum Palais, Vienna (2014); CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (2011); and at City Hall Park in New York City, as part of Public Art Fund’s 2013 exhibition Lightness of Being. She is the recipient of the Hector Prize 2015 and the Piepenbrock Prize for Sculpture in 2008. Her work was included in the 10th Istanbul Biennale in 2007. Kwade is represented by 303 Gallery in New York and KÖNIG GALERIE in Berlin.