Time is an integral element of life. For me, it seems similar to the phenomenon of breathing, in that it is largely uninvestigated in any great depth by the general public, though it is collectively understood as essential to our existence. Time runs everything, and though most of us plan the entirety of our lives within its confines, we rarely experience the epiphanic moments where the concept of time suddenly hits us like a ton of bricks and for a brief moment we begin to question just how it all works and how extraordinary it is that we all follow it, with our clocks and our calendars, so faithfully.
To kick off the new exhibition series entitled Intervals at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Mexican artist Julieta Aranda will exhibit a multi-part installation that conceptually deals with the notion of time, and plays with the way it is observed as a natural progression. Aranda’s work first became engaged in a discussion about time in 2006 with her body of work You Had No 9th of May!, in which she responded to the idea of defiantly shifting the rule of time, when in 1995 the Republic of Kiribati (an island nation in the center of the Pacific Ocean) decided to reroute a section of the International Date Line that divided its islands between two different days, causing it to no longer be split. Aranda was struck by the way Kiribati challenged the zigzagging line that spans the globe, which we have historically adhered to, though it is not under any international law. Moreover, Aranda explored the idea that Kiribati had blatantly changed time to fit its own agenda, making it as subjective a concept as beauty or comedy. For Intervals Aranda has created new pieces that playfully challenge the concept of time as we know it, including an oversized clock in which the daily cycle is divided into ten elongated hours. According to the Guggenheim, “this system references ‘decimal time': a short-lived initiative introduced during the rationalizing fervor of the French Revolution that divided the day into 10 hours, each hour containing 100 minutes of 100 seconds each.” Another piece is an image of an hourglass, as seen through a peephole. “Seen through the refracting optical device of a camera obscura, the grains of sand appear to flow upward in a startling reversal of time’s passage.”
Intervals, initiated by Chief Curator Nancy Spector, was “conceived to take place in interstitial locations within the museum’s exhibition spaces or beyond the physical confines of the building.” Julieta Aranda’s work will open the exhibition on Friday, April 10th. The entire series runs through July 19, 2009.
Julieta Aranda was born in Mexico City. She earned her MFA at Columbia University and her BFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has exhibited internationally, including at Galerie Michael Janssen in Berlin, AR Contemporary Gallery in Milan and El Museo Del Barrio in New York.