Sunday, January 21, 2018

Pedro Lasch: Reflections on Time at M.S. Rau

We think we know time, but we mostly get it backwards. Literally: we view time through the rear view mirror of its passing, a process Western civilization has obsessively measured down to the nanosecond. Mexican artist Pedro Lasch's Prospect.4 exhibition, Reflections on Time, at M.S. Rau Antiques takes a deeper look into the culture of time in an installation of ornately intricate antique clocks in a gallery chamber lined with dark mirrors. The clocks are installed facing the mirrors, so we view them from the rear in much the way we view time itself. Their intricately crafted fronts appear amid reflections from around the room so it takes a moment to notice the ghostly images from art history subtly imprinted in mirrors as dark as the recesses of deep space. The result is a conceptual allegory of how physicists now view time and space as an interwoven continuum — a view that actually originated with Mesoamerican astronomers thousands of years ago, as Lasch reminds us with his Bodies and Stars installation of a preColumbian stone statue of a woman viewing the interwoven figures of an Aztec calendar subtly glistening within a mirror like polished obsidian.

Although Europe's understanding of time lagged centuries behind the ancient Maya and Aztec peoples, European craftsmanship could be impressive as we see in a an 1885 “Perpetual Calendar Clock” by Thomas Muirhead facing a dark mirror with translucent figures from Jean Fran├žois de Troy's 1733 allegory painting, Time Unveiling Truth, top. The precision of the clock maker's art is strikingly evident in a circa 1900 “Waterwheel Automaton Clock” by Plachon of Paris as it faces a freeze frame sequence of photographs of music and time theorist David Epstein conducting the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Orchestra. Some of the clocks suggest precocious Victorian surrealism but, taken as a whole, Lasch's installation depicts, as he puts it, “unique representations of time across history...” in a way that “allows the viewer's image to merge with the mirrors, integrating stories across centuries and worldviews.” ~Bookhardt / Reflections on Time: Installation of Dark Mirrors and Antique Clocks by Pedro Lasch, Through Feb. 24, M.S. Rau Antiques, 630 Royal St., 523-5660.