Art in fast forward: the time lapse

Typical time lapses capture flowers blooming, the sun setting or the tide changing. These cliched subjects have contributed to the reason behind why the time lapse is an often underrated strand of photography in contemporary art. Despite this, however, time lapse can be incredibly useful at capturing artistic processes. As it crams hours into seconds, life is seen in fast forward. Similar to stop motion, the novelty of this quirky medium is found in the way it allows the passive viewer to bypass the sometimes tedious wait for the final outcome.

In these time lapse videos – courtesy of Cornerhouse (Manchester) and Spacex (Exeter) galleries – the progression of two artworks is revealed in under 2 minutes and 30 seconds. One decomposes slowly as it melts onto the gallery’s floor; the other is built up within the gallery space to create an organiser’s dream. Both videos demonstrate how useful time lapse can be at revealing the artistic process, whether natural or man-made.

– Kitty Kraus | Untitled (2011) | Cornerhouse –

Last year at Cornerhouse, Berlin based artist Kitty Kraus created an untitled work composed of ice, black ink and a lamp for the exhibition preview for Constellations. The work destroys itself as it melts onto the floor causing gallery go-ers to navigate around its leakage. Untitled questions issues revolving around how humans affect nature with pollution as black liquid oozes from the original work.

Click the image below to view the time lapse on artplayer.

– Michael Samuels | Tragedy of the Commons (2012) | Spacex –

As part of Michael Samuels’ current exhibition at Spacex titled This Was Tomorrow, a wall composed of storage spaces including drawers and shelves was constructed, occupying the majority of the gallery space. Reflecting a Brutalist heritage, the work reveals underpinning constructed elements leaving chipboard and ratchet straps exposed.

Click the image below to view the time lapse on artplayer.

Text by Carol Huston

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