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, in real time, live and as it 'happened' 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."

M. Herbert, 'Darren Almond', in Darren Almond, exh. cat., Zürich: Kunsthalle Zürich, 2001, p. 22

Darren James Almond (Intercity 125)

1997
cast aluminium and paint
made by British Rail
22 x 115 cm.; 8 5/8 x 45 1/4 in.

"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."

M. Herbert, 'Darren Almond', in Darren Almond, exh. cat., Zürich: Kunsthalle Zürich, 2001, p. 27

Bus Stop

1999
two bus shelters, aluminium, glass
each 603 x 303 x 270 cm.; 237 3/8 x 119 1/4 x 106 1/4 in.
Installation view: Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, 1999

"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."

M. Herbert, 'Darren Almond', in Darren Almond, exh. cat., Zürich: Kunsthalle Zürich, 2001, p. 26

Traction

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

"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."

K. Madden, 'Selected Works', in Darren Almond. Index, exh. cat., London: Parasol Unit/Koenig Books, 2008, p. 154

Fifteen Minute Moon

2000
lambda print
129 x 128 cm.; 50 3/4 x 50 3/8 in. (framed)

"This body of work [Fullmoon series] 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."


D. Almond, 'A glance is accustomed to no glance back. A conversation between Darren Almond and Julian Heynen', in 50 moons at a time, exh. cat., K21 Kunstsammlung, Düsseldorf; Cologne: Walther König, 2006

Meantime

2000
steel sea container, aluminium, polycarbonate, computerized electronic control system and components
289.6 x 243.8 x 1219.2 cm.; 114 x 96 x 480 in.

"In many of his works, the series that map the progress of the stars across the solar system, for example, or 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."

M. Herbert, 'Darren Almond', in Darren Almond, exh. cat., Zürich: Kunsthalle Zürich, 2001, p. 23

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."


C. 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

Mono Chrono Pneumatic White

2006
metal construction, pneumatic mechanism
394 x 740 x 90.5 cm.; 155 1/8 x 291 3/8 x 35 5/8 in.
Installation view: Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, 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."

D. Almond, 'A glance is accustomed to no glance back. A conversation between Darren Almond and Julian Heynen', in 50 moons at a time, exh. cat., K21 Kunstsammlung, Düsseldorf; Cologne: Walther König, 2006

Night+Fog (Monchegorsk)

2007
Bromide print, in three parts
overall: 213.3 x 323.6 cm.; 84 x 127 3/8 in.
each: 205.7 x 98.1 cm.; 81 x 38 5/8 in.
213.3 x 105.2 cm.; 84 x 42 3/8 in. (framed)
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."

Darren Almond in conversation with Jean-Marie Gallais, in REMEMBER EVERYTHING. 40 Years Galerie Max Hetzler, exh.cat., Berlin and London: Galerie Max Hetzler/Holzwarth Publications/Ridinghouse, 2014, p. 61 and 63

Installation view: "sometimestill", Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, 2009

“As with filmmaking, the main ingredient of photography is time, whether it’s a millisecond or a durational experience. You’re framing a moment that you’ll never see again. The photograph is an archive of memory. My ongoing Fullmoon series, based on long exposure times, was all about that. I have followed the cycle of the moon for almost two decades and have used it to expose the landscapes of our dreams: the reflective light of a full moon is used to expose the landscapes that still exist beyond the limits of our urban environment.”

D. Almond, ‘Interview with Darren Almond’, in TIMESCAPE. Darren Almond, exh. cat., Luxembourg: Mudam, 2017, p. 8

To Leave a Light Impression

2011
cast bronze and paint
61.4 x 86 x 1.5 cm.; 24 1/8 x 33 7/8 x 5/8 in.
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."

M. Prince, 'Darren Almond (exhibition review)', in Art in America, March 2013

All Things Pass

2012
6 channel video installation
each channel circa. 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."

M. Prince, 'Darren Almond (exhibition review)', in Art in America, March 2013

Perfect Time (24x6)

2012
144 synchronized digital clocks
340 x 176 cm.; 133 7/8 x 69 1/4 in.
unique

"We think of ourselves as technologized, modern beings, not ancient ones. We think of ourselves as autonomous, not subjected. And yet we live within dynamics and systems that are both constitutive and outface us, and if one of them is time, then another one – the one that contains time – is numbers. Numeric systems not only allow us to conceptualise time but to coordinate the stars, map human genome, use money (and develop and wreck economies) and computers (zeroes and ones), and begin to comprehend infinity: numbers arch over virtually everything. They are our grand system. Do we even understand them?

Almond’s art has displayed a vexed relationship to numbers as they pertain to time for many years, finding ways to say that the system exists, at once direct and defining and hugely mysterious, but that it is only a system – over a number of years he made a steadily larger series of flip clocks, yet however big they became, the objects always felt dwarfed by their implicit subject [...] A clock is an object that’s synechdocal for time-as-subject. What, then, is a clock gone renegade, like Almond’s Perfect Time clocks? These at once mark time but don’t tell it. They flip audibly and visibly on the hour and the minute, but the numerals, split on the horizontal, form sizeable varieties of hieroglyphs. Time, in these works, is at once reassuring and incomprehensible, an abstract concept, recognisable and strange – which, really, may reflect our true feelings about it."

M. Herbert, 'A cloudburst does not last all day', in Darren Almond. All Things Pass, exh. cat., Berlin: Galerie Max Hetzler/Holzwarth Publications, 2013, p. 9

Fullmoon@Seilebhig

2013
c-print
121.2 x 121.2 cm.; 47 3/4 x 47 3/4 in.
128 x 128 cm.; 50 3/8 x 50 3/8 in. (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, London: White Cube, 2014, n.p.

Installation view: "…beyond reach but within reason", Galerie Max Hetzler, Paris, 2016
Works from the series "Timescape" (2015-)

Photo: def image

“In 2013, I was in Patagonia. There, the atmosphere is very clear, there’s far less light pollution and you’re able to literally see the colours of the night sky. This experience marked a cut-off point for me. After twenty years of traversing the globe and looking through the lens of a camera at what I Could see in front of me, I suddenly felt that I needed to approach landscapes that I couldn’t see, landscapes beyond visibility, but through the visual somehow, using a tool or a mechanism to see into the shadows, to enlighten the shadows that lie before us. It’s only because of the present-ness of our embodiment upon the planet and because of the shadow cast by our planet, that we’re able to see the night sky at all. And buried within the night sky is the history of time itself, or at least the ‘shadow’ of time.

In the last few decades, that ‘landscape’ has grown exponentially in terms of knowledge and understanding but also in terms of field of vision and depth, and quantitative measurement. With satellite telescopes like Hubble, we’ve been presented with these extraordinary colour-form based images of deep space. There has been this unquantifiable expanse of the sublime landscape. I wanted to address the subject of time in the field of painting: not how to represent time, but whether time exists within colour.”

D. Almond, ‘Interview with Darren Almond’, in TIMESCAPE. Darren Almond, exh. cat., Luxembourg: Mudam, 2017, pp. 8-9