The youngest of the YBAs to be featured in the ground-breaking exhibition Sensation inaugurated at the Royal Academy of London in 1997, Darren Almond has developed over the past two decades a body of work that ranges from sculpture and installation to photography and film. Reminiscent of conceptual art, his work deals with the vagaries of time and space in relation to stories grounded in personal memories.
Duration in particular has become a central theme in the practice of Almond, who grew up in Wigan as a fervent train-spotter. Waiting, over and over again, while watching the station clocks and their steady flip is a motif that manifested very early on in his work and appears in his seminal piece Six Months Later. Composed of 1,440 photographs shot in one-minute increments over the course of 24 hours, this work can be regarded as a portrait of the artist’s studio; each photograph featuring his desk and chair, a window, two fans and a wall mounted flip clock. If at first glance the images seem identical, the amount of light that infuses the space and the time displayed on the clock are there to remind us that time is slowly ticking away.
Very ambitious in scope yet subtle in its approach, Six Months Later elaborates on a previous work entitled A Real Time Piece (1996), which was part of Almond’s first public exhibition in Exmouth Market, London. The piece consisted of a video-projected view of his studio in West London, filmed in real-time using CCTV networks across the city. Lasting for 24 hours, the video showed a room devoid of any activities that bore the absence of the artist. As in Six Months Later, an industrial flip-clock mounted on a wall was there to amplify the passing of each minute, conveying both a feeling of stillness and a romantic sense of longing.