Anri Sala Clock is the Daily Pic by Blake Gopnik
Here we are at Documenta, the world’s greatest art show, and everyone spends their time dissing Kassel, the small German town that makes it happen. I’ve committed the same cliche, as recently as in my Newsweek preview of this year’s event. But now that I’ve seen some of this 13th edition, it turns out the art would be different, and worse, if not for the city it’s in. A big chunk of Documenta’s works have been made just for siting in Kassel's lovely 18th century Karlsaue park, as nice a greenspace as any city could boast. Today’s Daily Pic is one of those works, by the Albanian artist Anri Sala, best known for fairly straight videos about his homeland. For the Aue park, he’s made a huge public clock with a wildly skewed face, as if shown from far off to one side. The whole park was designed to play similar games with perspective: It has grand avenues that veer off at angles that confuse our sense of depth. Sala simply makes those games more obvious, and a bit surreal. (Dali, eat your heart out.) One nice, anti-surreal detail from Sala: Thanks to skewed gears in its innards, his off-kilter clock tells perfect time.
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