• The Matter of Time

The Matter of Time

Written by Claire Evers

Overview image The Matter of Time by the Guggenheim Bilbao.

The Guggenheim Bilbao houses one of the biggest artworks ever made – a true treasure named The Matter of Time by Richard Serra. Although it was made already ten years ago, it is still relevant nowadays because it is based on the idea of multiple layered temporalities. Serra explains: “As one experiences each work in the context of the entirety of the installation one will become aware of the obvious diversity of durations of time. The meaning of the installation will be activated and animated by the rhythm of the viewer’s movement. Meaning occurs only through continuous movement, through anticipation, observation and recollection. However, there is no prescribed view, no preferred sequence, no preferred succession of views. Each person will map the space differently.”

So when I was moving and marveling through the installation myself last week, one person came to my mind – Amanda Gefter. She says reality is dependent on and connected to the perspective of the viewer, and I think we can experience that in Serra’s art piece. “There is an unlimited range of individual experiences, but they all take place over time” he says. But he is not talking about clock time. “The perceptual or aesthetic, emotional or psychological time of the sculptural experience is quite different from ‘real’ time. It is non-narrative, discontinuous, fragmented, de-centered, disorienting.”

 Do you want to read more ideas concerning time and place or space? Check out our issue #35 Travelling Through Times or get a membership and receive Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn by Amanda Gefter as a present!

Inside The Matter of Time by Claire Evers.


The Guggenheim Bilbao collection: The Matter of Time by Richard Serra, 1994-2005. http://www.guggenheim-bilbao.es/en/works/the-matter-of-time/