A solo exhibition by Darren Almond currently at White Cube in Bermondsey, London looks at how time and our methods of framing it shapes the way we understand and interact with the world. The exhibition features a sound piece, sculpture, and a new series of paintings by the artist.
Time is ephemeral, without substance, central to the way we organise and understand our lives yet impossible to fully define, pin down or categorise. Time is both an abstraction and a concrete reality, immaterial but clearly shaping the material. Devices and techniques for framing and monitoring time have ranged from stone circles to algorithms.
In Time Will Tell Almond presents a new series of paintings looks at how humans have used numbers to work with time. The language of numbers, arguably the only ‘true common language’, is used to organise and scale, and is intrinsic to commerce and computation. The paintings work with grids and fragments of numbers, referencing numerical timekeeping in the urban landscape. The pieces are made using a range of media including conductive metal leaf, acrylic gel and concrete based paint; these materials are used to produce complex layering which connects the functional and discrete with the continuous and crumbling. Zero is important for Almond as the ‘nothing that holds everything together’; it frequently appears in the paintings. Another work in the exhibition, Train Plates, references the British tradition of attaching metal name plaques to trains - again connecting time, the city and urban materials.
Alongside the paintings and plaques, Almond presents a sound piece, played in 4 minute 33 second cycles of noise and silence in a nod to composer John Cage. The piece is developed form recordings of the mechanisms of 18th century marine timekeepers at work. Almond worked with the Royal Observatory Greenwich to access the timekeepers, designed and built by John Harrison. The prototypes are an important part of the history of marine timekeeping and timekeeping in general.
Time Will Tell is on display at White Cube Bermondsey, 144 – 152 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TQ until 20 January 2019. The gallery is closed between 20 December 2018 and 3 January 2019.