Christian Marclay’s The Clock comes to Melbourne

ACMI Christian Marclay’s The ClockThe Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) has announced that Melbourne audiences will now have the chance to experience Christian Marclay’s The Clock – an award-winning 24-hour cinematic tour de force, and the most popular work of video art ever – when it screens daily at ACMI from 23 January 2019.

Twenty-four hours long, the already-iconic installation is created from thousands of film and television images of clocks, watches, or other references to time. These are masterfully edited together so that they flow in real time, perfectly synced to the present moment, in one mesmerising collage. The result is an epic and seductive journey through cinematic history as well as a functioning timepiece.

Following several years of painstaking research and production aided by a team of assistants, Christian Marclay collated over 12,000 clips from an array of films and TV shows, from canonical thrillers, westerns, musicals and sci-fis through to obscure art-house oddities, spanning some eighty years.

The final work is an exhilarating work that flows mercurially from such famous cinematic moments like Harold Lloyd hanging off the clock face in Safety Last! (1923) through to peripheral scenes caught by Marclay, such as Helen Morse asking one of her students for the time in Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975).

Minute by minute, hour by hour, hundreds of characters are jolted awake by alarms, run for trains, wait for lovers, or dream strange dreams. In this way, The Clock is a homage to cinema, gifting audiences the addictive joy of recognising favourite actors or scenes from beloved films, as well as a wildly compelling and dream-like work of its own.

Described by Marclay as ‘a meditation on time’ – The Clock ruminates on our insatiable fascination with time, memory and mortality through screen culture. It works with and against the conventions of cinematic storytelling to release a sublime and confounding excess of drama.

The Clock debuted in 2010 at London’s White Cube Gallery, before travelling the globe, captivating audiences from New York to Moscow. It has inspired a cult devotion, with audiences returning to pass hours under its spell, again and again and again. The Clock comes to ACMI direct from the Tate Modern in London.

“We are thrilled to be exhibiting Christian Marclay’s The Clock. Since we opened in 2002, ACMI has showcased some of the most celebrated contemporary artists in the world,” said Katrina Sedgwick, ACMI Director / CEO.

“In 2008, Replay Marclay was the first major exhibition presented in Australia celebrating Marclay’s work and was the first solo exhibition to be staged in ACMI’s Gallery 1. It’s fitting then to be presenting this extraordinary 24-hour moving image work as our final Gallery 1 exhibition before we close for our Renewal project.”

Christian Marclay was born in California and raised in Geneva, Switzerland. Over the last 35 years he has explored the fusion of fine art and audio cultures, transforming sounds and music into a visible, physical form through performance, collage, sculpture, installation, photography and video.

Since making his mark in the New York art scene in the seventies as an experimental DJ, Marclay is recognised as a pioneer in the art of using gramophone records and turntables as musical instruments to create sound collages.

The Clock will be open daily from 10.00am to 5.00pm Friday to Wednesday – and for 24-hours every Thursday from 23 January to 10 March 2019. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: A scene from Christian Marclay’s The Clock (supplied)