A captivating installation enthralled my senses as I scrolled through my socials today. Arguably, the brightest kaleidoscope of colours across the room, Emmanuelle Moureaux’s latest installation evokes a strong visualization on time and memory. Opening at London’s NOW Gallery, Emmanuelle Moureaux’s Slices of Time runs from February 5 until April 17, 2020. The artist filled the gallery space with a large, complex and beautiful aesthetic of cut out coloured paper, comprising of 100 shades of colours and white.
It is no doubt that Slices of Time feeds on our visual desire for aesthetic pleasure, presenting a physical formation of the impalpable yet important motif of time. Now, close your eyes, and imagine seeing 168,000 digits in 100 gradient colours. Can you write down the first thing that comes to mind? A string of codes, a word, a profound emotion…
Now, hold onto that instant response in your mind and think about the time that is passing by the second…
… a strong collision, is it not?
Sequential to Moureaux’s past exhibitions on 100 colours series, Slices of Time is a strong addition and response to her ongoing public discussion on time and emotion. As such, she invites visitors to write down a significant date on a round paper with coloured pens, which is then placed on the window of the NOW gallery. Together with the art installation, the interactive activity enforces a sense of unity. As cultural curator, Jemima Burrill noted, “Moureaux’s work echoes the complexity of life. It celebrates the existence of number.” In particular, the installation is a response towards the Greenwich Peninsula, home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), a worldwide clock time standard.
Created in a contemporary setting, the installation encourages us to pause and reflect on the concept of time. In particular, the steps it took to reach our contemporary knowledge on the subject. Indeed, our fascination with time can be traced back to the 1900s, when Salvador Dali presented the world with The Persistence of Memory (1931), an iconic surrealist painting that portrays the perspective of time in the eyes of a dreamer. As we approach a new decade, young artists are presenting their revolutionary views on time and numerical sequences. For instance, Room of Numbers by Davide Bonazzi illustrates a long list of numbers filling up a minimalistic room, and in the center, sits a figure with a laptop. Bonazzi confronts our addiction with technology and prompt us to re-evaluate our relationship with time.
As you are reading this, doesn’t this isolated figure mirror your posture in real life?
I would even go as far as to suggest that Slices of Time contains a philosophical and therapeutic effect. While we are capturing memories with a specific time and event, we are limited and living in borrowed time. Perhaps, we are just harmonizing with the numbers and digits around us. With digits that align with our desired outcome. Hence, Slices of Time and the rest of the 100 colours series not only invites us to contemplate on the past, present and future, but to also find a balance in a world where time can be mere digits unless we utilize it with intention.
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