We’re visiting an art gallery, or some temporary exhibition. We might happen to see an installation such as this exhibited: objects, lined up on a long white table, stain the tablecloth at regular intervals, as if following the ticking of a timepiece; it’s a series of identical volumes covered by a jet of industrial, quick-drying paint.
Black paint on a white tablecloth.
In 2017 Wang Guangyi started shuffling the deck of Time again. He did so using the work that we’ve just described, the clock-metaphor piece. The books bound in their opaque plastic covers are actually Bibles. But the Pekingese artist didn’t mean to be heretical. These objects represent for him vestiges of a remote, original era, which cross man’s collective memory to end up on bedside tables in hotel rooms, to wind up covered with some inexpensive, practical, industrial product. It seems that under the spectator’s gaze Guangyi has brought together both millennial time through the Bible and instant time, the time it takes for paint to dry.
Wang Guangyi, Biblical time and quick-setting time.
How long does it take for a surface to appear as it is to our eyes? And how long does it take for these tactile memories to fade away under a homogeneous, ready-made patina? The time machine that is Il Bisonte Journal features another piece of contemporary art which recounts the Adventures Time has on Surfaces (in this case, a book covered in faux leather).