Darren Almond

Selected Works

A Real Time Piece

1996
live video broadcast with sound
dimensions variable

A Real Time Piece (shown in the exhibition Something Else, Exmouth Market, London 1996) staged an event which was to all intents and purposes a non-event. In making the work Almond set up a city-spanning live video link, using closed-circuit TV, to his studio in West London and proceeded to show a static, video-projected view of his empty studio for 24 hours. (…) The only things that moved in the room were the clock, which emitted a fearsomely loud tock, and the light. Time passed, became precious, became prosaic again, became a solid entity, became the subject of the work.
In his first public exhibition, Almond became the first artist to use a live-video link-up in his work and to engage the poetics of simultaneity that have become such an omnipresent part of our wired, news-on-demand world. He also created in A Real Time Piece a miniature preview of many themes he would subsequently explore.

Martin Herbert, Darren Almond in Darren Almond, Kunsthalle Zürich, 2001

Darren James Almond (Intercity 125)

1997
cast aluminium and paint
made by British Rail
22 x 115 cm

As a youth growing up in the town of Wigan in Northern England, Almond was a keen trainspotter. This solitary and sedentary activity, with its prioritising of acts of patient waiting, its concomitant and freely-bestowed sense of being in the moment, and its precise attention to detail, is now deeply imbued in his work. By creating a replica train sign featuring his own full name, he appeared to fulfill a childhood wish – to merge with, to become active part of, the trains that as a trainspotter he was passively documenting, at which time he would sweep past regardless of his presence or absence on the platform.

(Edited) Martin Herbert, Darren Almond in Darren Almond, Kunsthalle Zürich, 2001

Bus Stop

1999
two bus shelters, aluminium, glass
each 603 x 303 x 270 cm
Installation view, Galerie Max Hetzler, Zimmerstraße, Berlin

What drew Almond to the scene outside the Auschwitz Museum were the bus shelters themselves. Emblems of waiting – detainment and the idea of being transported somewhere, they were also significant in architectural terms. As Almond points out, the shelters, with their glass fronts and floating canopy roots, are classic Modernist works reminiscent of the designs of Mies van der Rohe, who himself unsuccessfully entered competitions to design banks for the Third Reich. There is an imbricated language of power within the (ostensibly purely functional) shelters themselves. (….) (In 2000, Almond exhibited the replacements he has made for the originals, constructed in long-lasting materials so that when, as Almond intends, they are returned to the original site, they will stand as an almost invisible memorial, neutral subjects invested with understated but significant agency.)

Martin Herbert, Darren Almond in Darren Almond, Kunsthalle Zürich, 2001

Traction

1999
three part video installation with sound
duration: 28 minutes
Installation view, The Renaissance Society, Chicago

First shown in 1999 at the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Traction is the only film by Almond to have a narrative dialogue. The main thread is Almond interviewing his father about the accidents and physical injuries the elder Almond had sustained, mostly as the result of industrial labour. The video installation is architecturally organized with the three screens arranged like an altarpiece. The black-and-white image of an excavator is shown as a central projection with two freestanding colour projections placed one on either side of it: one showing the interview with the artist's father, and the other his mother. She was filmed in the family home silently listening to her husband's interview, during which she periodically breaks into tears or laughter, then recomposes herself.

Kathleen Madden, Selected Works in Darren Almond. Index, Parasol Unit / Koenig Books, London, 2008

Fifteen Minute Moon

2000
lambda print
129 x 128 cm framed

„This body of work began seven years ago, by chance, with a photograph the duration of whose exposure coincided with the length of a kiss. That shot, Fifteen Minute Moon, sat in my studio for a long time. The brilliance of the moonlight and the colour change of the landscape compelled me, as did the fact that it had all been made possible by increasing the length of exposure. The ensuing photographs I have made were all taken on full moon nights after darkness had falled on landscapes I had already seen, and exposed by varying lengths of moonlight. When photographed, the landscape is completely in shadow and the camera removes that shadow. They are intentionally concerned with memory and chance, with mobilising light and time, and, in the choice of locations – zones outside the urban, untouched by artificial lighting – continuing the legacy of Romantic painting.“

Darren Almond in 50 moons at a time, Walther König Publishing, Cologne, 2006

Meantime

2000
steel sea container, aluminium, polycarbonate, computerized electronic control system and components
289,6 x 243,8 x 1219,2 cm

In many of Almond's works, such as Meantime – an enormous clock that was transported from London to New York across the international date line – the ramifications of 'deep time' swell to such proportions that one can barely gasp their significance, and Almond has also schematised this notion in works which regiment time to a point beyond our usual comprehension of it.

Martin Herbert, Darren Almond in Darren Almond, Kunsthalle Zürich, 2001

A

(film still)
DVD with score by Lyle Perkins
duration: 22 minutes
edition of 5

Almond’s A presents a world without people. But not one that consists of a blank space waiting to be populated. Instead, his film reveals its extraordinary fullness. His camera lingers over its geology, revealing the translucency and delicacy of lumbering ice islands, tracing their crystalline surfaces, skimming the margin where ocean meets air and ice in a fringe of turquoise channels. A reveals the curious subtleties of this minimal colour world. Not all ice, for instance, is white. Old ice is blue. ‘Diamond’ ice, as old as the Jurassic age, is totally clear.
The experience he describes suggests a kind of psychological emptying out, the effect of a physical and mental expedition to degree zero. Almond describes how afterwards, on his return north, his familiarity with the visual landscape of home had temporarily dissolved: “Horses, any animal with four legs, looked crazy. The colour green seemed very odd. Shadows felt bigger and everything was darker.”

Cathy Haynes, Project essay on artist Darren Almond’s A, a film installation commissioned in 2003 by Public Art Development Trust film for Fourth Wall at the National Theatre, London, 2010

Night+Fog (Monchegorsk)

2007
Bromide print
3 panels, each 205,7 x 98,1 cm, 213,3 x 105,2 cm, framed
total: 213,3 x 323,6 cm
edition of 5 plus 2 AP

“After doing a project in Antarctica, I thought I should also go to the Arctic. I met a slightly eccentric curator of arctic research, who told me that if I wanted to see ice, I should go to Dudinka as that's where the nuclear-powered ice-breakers transported the nickel from the former Gulag of Norilsk. But you need to know someone living there to be allowed to go. By complete coincidence, the young interpreter I was using had a family member who lived there. So we got to Dudinka, a medieval port on the Yenisei River, and we befriended the head of the rescue services, a retired army surgeon. I accompanied him for 17 hours through the ice so that I could make my arctic pole video (Arctic Pull, 2003). When I returned from this trip, I spotted an amazing broken wooden railway bridge. The guy sitting next to me said it was probably a silent monument to the people who perished laying the first railway connection from Dudinka to Norilsk. I kept wondering where the timbers had come from, because all the trees around there looked skinny and dead. He said that the reason they were dead is because they were 'choked' from the sulphur which the smelting plant was pumping into the atmosphere. This discovery marked a whole new chapter in my work. I went there every year for the next eight years, and I'm still not concluded with my Norilsk journey.”

(Edited) Darren Almond in conversation with Jean-Marie Gallais in Remember Everything: 40 Years Galerie Max Hetzler, Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin 2014

To Leave a Light Impression

2011
cast bronze and paint
61,4 x 86 x 1,5 cm
edition of 3, plus 2 AP

Almond’s text works constitute a further facet of his investigation into how we measure reality. They are produced on steel plaques that allude to the name plates affixed to early British trains—the names replaced by poetic phrases such as “At times there are no words.” Almond was a trainspotter as a boy, making this work a compounding of cultural nostalgia, early Conceptual textuality—which often assumed taxonomical forms—and an implicit critique of the terms on which objective representation is based. Almond’s deconstruction of linguistic and numerical signification asserts reality’s recalcitrance to being framed and assimilated. In this sense, despite the scientific trappings that surround much of his work, Almond is a quintessentially Romantic artist.

Mark Prince, Darren Almond (exhibition review) in Art in America, March 19, 2013

Mono Chrono Pneumatic White

2006
metal construction, pneumatic mechanism
394 x 740 x 90,5 cm
Installation view, Galerie Max Hetzler, Holzmarkstraße, Berlin (with Albert Oehlen, Annihilator, 2001/2006)

Mono Chrono Pneumatic White displays time through negative space, so it is the space beyond the display, the time behind the machine, which places the viewer in the present as is echoed by his reflection. Perception and the speed of perception has always fascinated me since my involvement in a serious car accident. I was hit head on and at great speed by a car whilst on my bicycle. At the moment of impact I remember very distinctly and clearly to this day all the processes and mechanical functions and signals that I asked myself to perform in order to contort and avoid serious impact. A distant point of view was taken by my subconscious in order to realise conscious actions. Now with analogue clocks there will never be a pause, it's organic and a continuum. As a display, digital clocks allow a segment pause for reflection, then change occurs. Somewhere between the analogue and the digital lies remembrance.“

(Edited) A glance is accustomed to no glance back. A conversation between Darren Almond and Julian Heynen in 50 moons at a time, Walther König Publishing, Cologne, 2006

All Things Pass

2012
6 channel video installation
each channel approx. 30 min, audio
edition of 3 plus 2 AP

All Things Pass (2012) is a sensuously all-encompassing, six-channel video installation filmed at a step well in Rajasthan. Cinema-scale projections create an immersive environment out of footage—including shots of a lime green algae carpet rattled by monsoon rain, and cirrus clouds racing across a still moon—so lavish it tends to detract from the well’s function within the film as a temporal mechanism, like an hourglass, and from the self-reflexive trope of the camera lingering over surfaces long enough for us to assume that we are watching a still. With its mesmerizing soundtrack of Hindustani music, the installation is escapist even as it impels an awareness of how a desire for the exotic tends to overlook its mediation.

Mark Prince, Darren Almond (exhibition review) in Art in America, March 19, 2013

Fullmoon@Seilebhig

2013
c-print
121,2 x 121,2 cm, 128 x 128 cm, framed
edition of 5, plus 2 AP

Almond's full-moon images recall a history of landscape painting, a reference reinforced by the fact that he commenced the series by photographing places such as Cézanne's Mont Saint Victoire, Constable's Flatford Mill in Suffolk, and areas where Caspar David Friedrich and John Ruskin were inspired. In addition, Almond has retraced places where early photographers like William Henry Fox Talbot and Carleton Watkins worked. As the artist has explained, his full-moon photographs are intentionally concerned with memory and chance, with mobilising light and time, and in the choice of locations – zones outside the urban, untouched by artificial lighting – continuing the legacy of Romantic painting.

T.J. Demos, Photographs at the End of the World in Darren Almond. To Leave a Light Impression, White Cube, London 2014