Waiting for Art: The Experience of Real Time in Sculpture

  • Elizabeth Buhe
Keywords: time, waiting, temporality, duration, sculpture, Bergson, anxiety, perception, temporal, catharsis, Signer, Sailstorfer, Kapoor, Whitelaw


Why and how does some contemporary art make us wait, and why does the beholder choose to stay? This study seeks to answer this question by exploring what happens to the viewer while waiting in front of a “time sculpture,” a term coined here to mean a three-dimensional artwork that is dynamic over a set period of time. Through an analysis of select works by artists Anish Kapoor, Amelia Whitelaw, Michael Sailstorfer, and Roman Signer, the article posits that while in front of these time sculptures, the viewer experiences an anxiety of waiting and temporal confusion that glues him to the spot. Ultimately, by drawing upon Henri Bergson’s concept of duration, the essay suggests that the viewership of time sculpture allows for a heightened state of perception.
How to Cite
Buhe, E. (2011). Waiting for Art: The Experience of Real Time in Sculpture. Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture, 1, 117-136. https://doi.org/10.5195/contemp.2011.20