Skip to content
Joseph Kosuth in #StaffPicksSaturday

Debra Vilen, Head Registrar, has selected ‘Quoted Clock #18’, 2020 a new work by Joseph Kosuth for #StaffPicksSaturday.

"I was drawn to this work by #JosephKosuth as our sense of time has been profoundly altered during the COVID pandemic. We have been experiencing a slowing down of our daily routines and at the same time feeling that the last few months have rushed past us, eclipsing important events and experiences that we had planned. Like an observer in a dream, the sense of loss as time marches on highlights the feeling of dissonance that we are collectively experiencing as we observe time from outside the normal patterns of our lives.

‘Quoted Clock #18’ is from the Joseph Kosuth exhibition, ‘Existential Time’, which was meant to open at the gallery on March 27, but was postponed due to the COVID pandemic. The exhibition references Kosuth’s conceptual concerns of time and existence and his ability to create meaning from the ethos of humanity. This work is created from a standard analog clock, which represents the empirical passing of time, as its hands trace its face by the minutes and hours. At the same time the clock is imbued with philosophical meaning through the figurative use of the quote by Walter Benjamin, “The grey film of dust covering things has become their best part.” This text symbolizes the fact that we all originate from dust, even the clock that ticks away the hours is merely an instrument of the banal, binding us to our predicable habits and daily routines. Similar to the photograph by Man Ray, Dust Breeding which documents the accumulation of dust on Marcel Duchamp’s The Large Glass, Benjamin’s text underscores that time is no more complex than the existential dust gathering on the surface of our things. This process of noting the passage of time becomes the messenger, signifying the beauty of our existence. As we emerge from this period of time, it will be artists who will define the meaning of our collective experience."