Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled (Perfect Lovers)” (1991)
I find Felix Gonzalez-Torres to be such a wonderfully sad, romantic figure, both in the sweet, lovey-dovey sense of the word “romantic” but also in the over-the-top epic sense of the word. His partner Ross Laycock was both a major source of inspiration and his intended audience (as he said in an interview). This work was created shortly after Ross’s diagnosis of AIDS.
The two battery-operated clocks are to be set in unison, but they will eventually, inevitably fall out of sync with one another. The clocks’ continued ticking serves as a metaphor for both the eternalness of love and the impossibility of such a thing. The lovers might measure their lives in the same manner, but the tricks of time will unbalance them.
One of my very good friends has re-staged this work in her home, and the clocks are now horribly out of sync. For a period, the hands of one clock stopped rotating but continued to tick, nearly in unison with its lover, and eventually began rotating again. The discordant but steady rhythms added to the complexity of the metaphor, reminding me of the ways one and their love can change, with and without each other.
Hammock!! Best post-lunch place to rest ;)