David Claerbout

Akademie der Künste | Hanseatenweg

Belgian artist David Claerbout illuminated the relative and shifting nature of perceptual time—geological, historical, episodic, linear, emotionally and culturally mediated—in his striking exhibition “Background Time.” Together the dynamically changing city of Berlin, with its transparent historical strata, and the Akademie der Künste, seemingly frozen in time among other modernist icons of the Hansaviertel district, made an uncanny setting for this ensemble of six works. The gallery’s expansive layout also provided an effective time sequence between the two-part video installation American Car, 2002–2004. In the first large-screen projection we seem to be witnessing a stakeout in the pouring rain by two undercover agents out of some ’70s thriller, evoking all the attendant stereotypes and suspense. But in the next room, at the end of a long, narrow hallway, a vast rural landscape clearing

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