Issue 7: RETROSPECT 2010

Who knows how the year 2010 will be remembered in art history. A number of events may stand out as having been immediately significant – with its controversial use of reperformance, Marina Abramovic’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York at the start of the year, for example, may have even changed the way institutions approach the idea of representing history itself, while with its unveiling in London in October, Christian Marclay’s latest video collage, The Clock (2010), was instantly recognized by many as a masterpiece. But we simply don’t yet have the perspective to determine the ultimate significance of this young artist’s debut solo show, or that ambitious new exhibition’s launch (and in Japan, we had not one but two such exhibitions this year, the Setouchi International Art Festival and the Aichi Triennale).

However, what makes art so dynamic and invigorating is that it has never been about a history, singular, and has always created space for histories, plural. Wherever there is a consensus, art is always finds a contention. Wherever there is a center, art is always seeking out the margins. Every artist, every community, every institution, every city, every country has a history, a context of before and after. Maybe every year has its own history too.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will bridge the divide between 2010 and 2011 by thinking about what it means to look back. Rather than producing a best-of list, we have asked our regular contributors to offer us memories, incidents that for whatever reason continue to shape how they see the world of the present. Based in cities across the globe, some traveling more than others, the contributors to “Things Worth Remembering 2010” collectively offer up a poetic and meandering tour through the year in art.

In a feature interview, we sit down with Christian Marclay to discuss The Clock and how it relates to his broader practice of visual and sound collage. Combining thousands of film clips featuring clocks and watches for every minute of a 24-hour day into an endless loop, the work is a fully functional time-telling device, while also serving as an analysis of narrative film editing techniques, an archive of international movie stars famous and unknown from across different points of their careers, and a gateway for viewers into their personal memories and experiences of cinema.

Additionally, we have asked two special contributors, Massimiliano Gioni and Jens Hoffmann, for complementary views on the year just passed and the year to come, “Retrospect/Forecast 2010-2011.”

So often co-opted by the forces of convention, history has a bad name in some circles. But we should never forget that to remember is to enter into a dialogue with the memory of the future; a performance of the present, looking back is necessarily to look ahead.

– The Editors

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