Until the first of November, the clock at the very top of the world-famous Vater-Müller organ turns rapidly backwards, instead of forwards. This Clock Before it Existed is a subtle but powerful intervention by the Icelandic artist Smári Róbertsson (Vestmannaeyjabær, 1992). Every minute, the hand of the clock turns back 24 hours, until past the moment that the clock was created by sculptor Jurriaan Westerman: the year 1724. The artist literally unwinds the clock as a way of transforming it to reflect on time, space and your physical presence. It isn’t very easy to spot but once the clock cathes your eye, it is hard to look away.
about the artist
Smári Róbertsson (Iceland, 1992) graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2015 and obtained his MA from the Sandberg Instituut in 2017. A versatile artist, Smári creates installations, written work and music. It often includes a location-specific phenomenon or fundamental architectural features that are emphasized by audio, video, text or objects. Characteristic is his investigative way of working that deals with time, identity and the hermeneutics of experience. The questions that Smári asks about how we explain ourselves, our situation and our environment were one of the reasons to invite him to develop new work for the Oude Kerk. His play with time and coincidence relates to the interhistorical programming of the church, in which heritage and contemporary art go hand in hand.
As part of the project, Smári will be writing texts in which he reflects on the unwinding of the clock. You can find these texts on his website, in a form that stands between a blog, a report and a live essay.
smári robertsson: this clock before it existed
13 August to 1 November 2019
oude kerk, oudekerksplein (the red light district), Amsterdam
open daily 10 am – 6 pm, Sunday 1 pm – 5:30 pm
Supported by the Icelandic Visual Art Fund and Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst.