Christian Marclay's The Clock comes to the National Gallery of Canada

Ottawa - February 8, 2012

The Clock, much anticipated since its May 2011 acquisition by the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), comes to the NGC beginning this Friday, February 10. Created by internationally-acclaimed artist Christian Marclay, winner of a Golden Lion for best artist at the Venice Bienniale last summer, The Clock is an ode to time and cinema made up of thousands of film clips compiled into a 24-hour single channel real time video. Marclay’s extraordinary production that won a Golden Lion at the Venice Bienniale last summer premieres to a Canadian audience Thursday, February 9, at 6 p.m., as part of an opening night during which Marc Mayer, NGC director, and Jonathan Shaughnessy, assistant curator, contemporary art and curator of the Gallery’s presentation of The Clock, will discuss this  work and the artist.

The public will be able to make it an all-night experience from Thursday night as the video will be open continuously until Saturday, February 11, at 5pm, as part of the National Capital Commission's (NCC) Winterlude celebrations. The gallery presents another weekend of 24-hour screenings during the closing weekend of Winterlude, from Thursday, Febraury 16, at 10 a.m. through Monday, February 20, at 5 p.m. What's more, the NGC is extending this series of continuous screenings on Thursdays, March 1, 8, 15 and 22, from 10 a.m. Thursday to 5 p.m. the following day. The Clock will also be screened Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until March 25. For more information, visit

The Clock is the first work by Christian Marclay to enter into Canada's national collection. Known for his experimental work in sound and video art, The Clock is composed of thousands of film clips that share references to time and timepieces. This ambitious project explores the wonderment and illusion of cinema through a dizzying chronology in which theatrical and real time fold into one.

The acquisition of this extraordinary artwork by the National Gallery of Canada was made possible thanks to the vision and generous financial support of Jay Smith and Laura Rapp, and Carol and Morton Rapp, of Toronto.

The Clock, an ambitious installation
In making The Clock Marclay compiled thousands of film clips of wristwatches, clock towers, sundials, alarm clocks, and countdowns, each of which convey a particular moment used to illustrate virtually every minute in a 24-hour period. Other references to time are also conveyed throughout the production. While viewers of the work may be drawn into the film’s continually discontinuous narratives, the video serves as an accurate and functional clock in and of itself. Compiled over several years and through the research of the artist and his assistants, The Clock presents a vast range of cinematic settings and moods as time unravels through narratives leading in countless directions and rupture any sense of linear, chronological sequence. All told, The Clock is an extraordinary production that juxtaposes countless segments from films past and present to manifest the concept of time integral to the history of the moving image.

Marclay – readymade sound and image mixer
Marclay’s fascination with collaging sound and image dates back to the late 1970s while he was a student at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston (near the MFA) and Cooper Union in New York.  Marclay played music with bands in underground club scenes, often using homemade instruments such as a record turntable converted into a portable electric guitar-like device. His innovative artistic practice continues to combine aural and visual sources with a keen sensibility toward complex editing, sampling and looping techniques. Christian Marclay’s experimental work with sound, video and film has been extremely influential on a younger generation of artists for whom the idea of digital sampling and mixing recordings is now a given.

About the artist
Christian Marclay was born in California in 1955, raised in Switzerland and now lives in New York and London. He has exhibited widely, including solo exhibitions at LACMA, Los Angeles (2011), LEEUM Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2010), Whitney Museum of Amercian Art, New York (2010), Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva (2008), Cité de la Musique, Paris (2007) Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2006), Barbican Art Gallery, London (2005), Seattle Art Museum (2004), Tate Modern, London (2004), UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2003), and the SFMoMA, San Francisco (2001). Group exhibitions include 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia (2011), British Art Show 7, Nottingham (2010), Yokohama International Arts & Media Festival (2009), Platform 2009, Seoul (2009), Vancouver Art Gallery (2008), Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield (2007), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2007), Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon (2007), La Maison Rouge, Paris (2006), Musée d’Art Contemporain, Avignon, France (2005), SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico (2003), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2001) and Hayward Gallery, London (2000). Christian Marclay also continues to collaborate with musicians, including recent performances with Steve Beresford, Okkyung Lee, Shelley Hirsch and Otomo Yoshihide. He was awarded a Golden Lion at the 2011 Biennale di Venezia for his video work The Clock.

Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — free with admission to the Gallery:  Adults $9, seniors and full-time students $7, youth (12–19) $4, family (2 adults, 3 youths) $18. Free admission to nighttime screenings from 5 p.m. to the next morning. Free admission for children under 12 and Members of the Gallery.

About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions it aims to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. To do so, it maintains the largest touring art exhibition programme in the world. For more information, visit

Twitter: @gallerydotca   #NGCtheclock

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