Esther Shalev-Gerz — Les Inséparables


Installation, sculpture

Esther Shalev-Gerz
Les Inséparables


The permanent installation in public space Les Inséparables consists of a double clock merging two dials. Like many works by Esther Shalev-Gerz it is constructed from visual and temporal overlaps. The hands of the right dial indicate the time flowing towards the future while those on the left flow simultaneously towards the past, counter clock-wise. Hours pass in both directions, inseparable in the present. This work evokes a richness of themes that run through the double clock — otherness, time, history, the construction of personal and collective memory, the double, the twofold, complexity and the concept of inseparability.

Originally conceived in 2000 as a part of the installation Inseparable Angels: An Imaginary House for Walter Benjamin, Esther Shalev-Gerz’s double clock was singled from the installation and enlarged to a monumental scale for a commission by The Wanas Foundation in Sweden. Permanently installed on the façade of the foundation’s konsthall in 2008, the new 3-meter wide version entitled Les Inséparables, 2000 — 2008, is the first of three editions.

The City of Geneva, with the assistance of its Contemporary Art Collection (FMAC), acquired and inaugurated the second edition of the monumental double-clock in public space on the 21st of May 2016. Site-specifically designed for its new location in Lissignol Street, Les Inséparables now poetically caps two buildings situated in the heart of Saint-Gervais quarter, the historical cradle of Geneva watchmaking that was just refurbished by the city.

For her retrospective in Jeu de Paume, Paris in 2010, Shalev-Gerz realized a new variant of the artwork in collaboration with Jaeger-LeCoultre. For this version, the double-clock is also double-faced. Visible from both front and back, it greeted the visitors as they walked in and out of the exhibition.

21 mai 2016, Lissignol Street, Geneva, Switzerland

Rue Lissignol, Genève Independant
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The artist