On Your Own Time
October 10, 1999–January 2, 2000
Open October 10, 1999, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center presents On Your Own Time featuring international artists whose work explores the passing of time. Organized by P.S.1 Senior Curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the works on view suggest the processes behind duration, memory, desire, and anticipation.
Rather than addressing the measurement of time or the digital age’s effect on an accelerated contemporary life, the artists in this show share an interest in how public and private selves overlap, shift, interact, and are defined by the diverse ways of experiencing the passing of time.
Unrelated in use of media, style, cultural context, or generation, they reflect on possible ways in which to spend one's own time. Teresita Fernández (b.1968) presents a sculptural floor-piece where wooden construction, delicate time-consuming pencil drawings, translucent scrim, and mirrors join to form a visual and architectural metaphor of the blurred boundaries between past and present, perceptions and recollection, the real and the imagined. Ceal Floyer (b.1968) uses video—a medium devoted to showing movement in time—to express a process so gradual that it seems to arrest the passing of time. For Ink on Paper (video) (1999), in what seems like a “still-life on screen,” the artist’s hand holds a felt-tip pen onto paper, allowing the ink to seep into the surface, resulting in a slowly expanding circle. Sabrina Mezzaqui (b.1965) re-lives a popular children’s story by Karl Bruckner. In the story, a Japanese girl’s survival of nuclear contamination in Hiroshima depends on her making 1000 cranes, a popular Eastern tradition. Covering the walls of the gallery, Mezzaqui’s 999 paper cranes suspend the outcome of the story and create a joyful sense of timelessness.
Among the first artists to focus on process, time, and duration, Roman Opalka (b.1931) installs paintings, a recording, and photographs specifically for P.S.1. The artist began in 1965 to count from one to infinity, each canvas covered with numbers. After his first paintings with white numbers on a black background, Opalka started in 1971 to use 1% more white paint in the background of each subsequent painting, so that the works become paler through the years and head towards being white on white. His art celebrates the infinite variations and changing tonalities that occur through time.
The work of Lawrence Weiner (b.1940) has dealt with the ambiguity of determined and indeterminate suspension. On the occasion of On Your Own Time, he will create a work specifically for P.S.1. This new installation, ALONG DOWN THE LINE A BIT (1999) will be located on the gallery’s walls of windows.
Concurrently with this show, a live transmission of Roman Opalka at work in his studio on the evening of December 31, 1999 is being produced by the French Ministry of Culture and Globecast France Telecom. The event will be broadcast on worldwide television.
To complement this exhibition, a public dialogue and workshop with selected artists will be arranged by the P.S.1 Education Department.
On Your Own Time is made possible through the support of the Visual Art Department of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, New York, and Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia, Italy. P.S.1 would also like to thank Deitch Projects, Casey Kaplan Gallery, and John Weber Gallery for their assistance in this project.