My favourite work of art, the one I would save in the event of a world catastrophe, is on show at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art until 1 November. I did not know about this, I found it by chance, and mistake, while I was going to the public Library (which is just in its basement). I couldn’t believe it was there. It is an uncanny work, one I recognise as familiar (clocks are everywhere) yet strange (two clocks, together, going at the same time?). It is displayed in precise surroundings to provoke exactly this but I found, this time round, an added layer of humanity.
When I saw the work at the Serpentine, I could not tear my eyes off it. The clocks were completely synchronous, to the very second, and anything like that –synchronised swimming, for example– captures my attention, puts me in a trance. When I thought about saving the work from natural disaster, the idea of reproducing it in my kitchen came about. I scoured the internet, found reasonable enough clocks, bought them, displayed them. I did not think much of it until they started telling the time apart. I thought it was due to the cheap make but GoMA’s installation made me realise that eternal synchronicity, in art, life and specially love, is impossible. The clocks were a few seconds apart. No doubt, they will join hands again in the future but each is an entity. The perfection lies, partly, in the imperfection. Phew.
The explanation for what happened at the Serpentine can be found in Felix González-Torres’ other works. It is well known that viewers can eat his candy installations, and that these have an ideal weight (usually his and his lover’s put together). The sweets are replenished over night and I suspect the clocks are synched too. Perfection in love is an illusion, a spell cast over viewers. I felt much closer to Glasgow’s Perfect Lovers and I will rescue my kitchen clocks from their unfair exile and let them tell me the time they want.