The Time That Remains

Time is a tricky, elusive and slippery concept – one that Belgian artist David Claerbout chooses to rigorously question at and at times, attempt to negate, in his film and video works.

The Algiers' Sections of a Happy Moment, 2008

Source: courtesy of the Collection of Pamela and Richard Kramlich, San Francisco. © David Claerbout

The Algiers’ Sections of a Happy Moment, 2008

The artist’s debut UK solo show, Time that Remains, is set to open at east London’s Parasol Unit gallery, drawing together Claerbout’s works from 2000 to the present.

Much of the artist’s work comprises film installations depicting everyday activities, which are then manipulated and distorted so as to negate the linear passage of time. This aims to throw the viewer off-kilter – encouraging them to question their own ideas of narrative and time.

As well as screens showing Claerbout’s disquieting video pieces, the show will also present light box work Orchestra from 2011, which examines theatrical silences. The participatory work invites the viewer to enter a darkened room, from which an orchestra conductor emerges. Turning convention on its head, the orchestra audience and conductor then eerily turn to examine the viewer.

Elsewhere the 14-hour Bordeaux Piece from 2004 shows the same episode shot at ten-minute intervals from 5.30am to 10 pm, which was shot in a house designed by architect Rem Koolhaas. The film features three actors repeating dialogues and gestures, who are set against the natural movement of the sun and diurnal changes in light – questioning whether it is the people or nature itself that is the protagonist.

The Quiet Shore, 2011

Source: Courtesy Lilian and Billy Mauer © David Claerbout

The Quiet Shore, 2011

Light also takes centre stage in the 2009 work Sunrise. Set in Denham’s Skywood House in Buckinghamshire, the film shows a nocturnal villa scene in which a maid performs her duties as others sleep. It follows her tasks until she cycles home at sunrise, set to a commanding Rachmaninov soundtrack.

David Claerbout, The Time that Remains runs from 31 May – 10 August at Parasol Unit, 14 Wharf Road, London N1

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