David Lamelas — Time 1970/2018
David Lamelas is widely recognized as a pioneer of conceptual art. A key member of the Argentinean avant-garde during the 1960s, Lamelas participated in landmark exhibitions in Buenos Aires at the influential Instituto Torcuato di Tella. After representing Argentina at the Venice Biennale in 1968, he relocated to London to study at Saint Martin’s School of Art. In the mid-1970s he moved to Los Angeles, and since then he has led a nomadic life and practice between Europe, the United States, and South America.
In 1970, David Lamelas first enacted one of his most iconic works: the ever-adaptable and reproducible Time. Although it has been often described as a performance, it seems more appropriate to call it a sculptural event that unfolds through our consciousness of time and space. In 2018, Lamelas recreated Time at the MSU Broad:
In a line designated by the artist, people stand next to each other and, mimicking the sequential structure of film, tell each other the time and place with each passing minute, using a watch. About Time, Lamelas has stated that “we may come from different cultures, be of different color or religion, but we all share the one single time of the present.” And yet, Time also recalls the history of timekeeping, and how it has changed us both as individuals and as a society. The advent of the pocket watch, and later the wristwatch, gave us private ownership over time, making it readily accessible, and shifting our perception of time from an abstract concept into a precise activity.