The Guggenheim Museum of New York inaugurates a new cycle of exhibitions “Intervals”, with the Mexican born artist Julieta Aranda : Through a production of new works, the aim is to disclose today’s most innovating practices in contemporary art. As the title could indicate, the chief curator Nancy Spector decided to place the show in the interstices of the museum’s exhibitions spaces or beyond the physical confines of the building.
With a BFA in Filmmaking at the School of Visuals arts and a MFA at the Columbia University School of the Arts in Sculpture and New Genres, Julieta Aranda (b.1975) has this capacity of manipulating different medias in order to express a very engaged work about the dispersion of information and the behavior of individuals in our society. In brief, she seeks for alternatives, in her own words, to “generate viable propositions for alternative transactions of cultural capital.”
For “Interval”, she focused on the subject of time: she tries, and succeeds, to bring out the fact that time as a linear progression is only a subjective convention created by humans. By exploring the notion of malleable temporality, she proposes others creative solutions and also organizes some quite interesting ‘face to face’ between the viewer and this notion.
In order to activate the triangular staircase of Frank Llyod Wright ironic rotunda, Julieta Aranda placed near it a peephole. Through it, we perceive the traditional symbol of human mortality, an hourglass. The ingenuity of this piece resides in the inversion of this process: the object is seen through the refracting optical system of a camera obscura (the famous antic ancestor of the photography) and thus the grains of sand appear to flow upward. Time is reversed; a flow of ambiguous emotion pervades the viewer, confronted to his past, or his future, or just to a present where beginning and end are confused. To add to this confusion, the artist wrote a series of statements about time, spanning over 2000 years, which are only visible in the dark because of a phosphorescent paint. Looking like graffiti’s, they remind us our urban environment, where for instance we see those protests inscribed on the walls of the metro.
Another genius production confusing our conception of time is an oversized clock that represents a daily cycle divided in 10 elongated hours instead of 12. They are divided in 100 minutes and 100 seconds. But the movement of the second hand is connected to the heartbeat of the artist over the course of the day: the number of minutes would then rely on a very subjective matter, Aranda’s behavior and mood… Time depending on men ?
Therefore these works completely transform the relationship between men and time; a great revelation. The second “Interval” will be showcased for fall 2009, where we will have the pleasure to discover a new production of works by the Berlin based artist Kitty Kraus… to be continued…
The exhibition series is funded by the generous contributions of the Intervals Leadership Committee. Chaired by Young Collectors Council member Jeremy Steinke, the group comprises high-level Guggenheim members who are committed to the realization of Intervals projects and who enjoy a privileged insight into the processes behind them through dialogue with the curators and artists.
[Visual : Julieta Aranda, Partially untitled (tell me if I am wrong), 2009. Camera obscura (wood, paint, and translucent screen), hourglass, Lexan, rotating mechanism, and light source, dimensions variable. Collection of the artist]