up2date. Das Onlinemagazin der Universtiät Bremen

Have You Heard of … the Two Clocks in NW1?

There’s a lot to discover on the university campus – even when it comes to art. up2date. introduces you to one of the many works: the “Rendezvous” clocks.

Campus Life

We rely on clocks to get to class on time or catch the last bus. But isn’t the time displayed on a clock completely arbitrary, considering that someone could simply adjust the hands? Or replace the numbers? This is the subject of Rendezvous by artist Horst Müller.

The installation from 1991 can be found in the entrance hall of the NW1 building. And in it, Bremen artist Horst Müller deals with the themes of time and infinity, present and past. The first version of this work of art was completed in 1985 and was made of painted sheet iron.

Born in Bremerhaven, Müller’s installation creates a mirror image of a “normal clock” – in other words, a clock with the dial we are familiar with. This results in a horizontal figure eight being formed, the mathematical sign of infinity.

The installation by Horst Müller, who also briefly studied literature at the University of Bremen, can be found on the central staircase in the entrance hall of the NW1 building.
© Universitätsarchiv Bremen

The doubling of the normal clock creates a “mirror clock” in which the hands still run clockwise, but the numerals are arranged in decreasing order. So it seems as if time on the mirror clock is going back into the past. If the hands of one clock are set to 1, the hands of the other clock move back one hour and point to 11. In this way, the artist questions the meaning of a clock: it does not determine the time or the present, it merely gives it an easily interchangeable name.

Man könnte also meinen, dass sich die Uhren immer weiter voneinander entfernen. Andererseits treffen ihre Zeiger mit jeder Umdrehung wieder aufeinander, ganz wie bei einem Rendezvous. Die Uhren erfassen sowohl die Zukunft als auch die Vergangenheit - und zusammen die Unendlichkeit.

You might think that the clocks are moving further and further apart from one another. However, each rotation around the clock has their hands meet up with each other again, just like in a rendezvous. The clocks capture both the future and the past – and together, infinity.

Bigger than you think. Here, artist Horst Müller is seen next to his installation.
© Sigrid Rifai

The Artist

More information about artist Horst Müller can be found on the website of the Künstlerhaus Bremen.

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