What Time Is It?

Luca Frei, What Time Is It?, 2009 © Luca Frei
Installation view, Balice Hertling c/o Galerie Neu/MD72, Berlin, 2010.
Photo: Gunter Lepkowski

Luca Frei

The most striking aspect of What Time Is It? is a sculpture consisting of eight bent wall segments leaning against one another. The first impression is one of allure, coupled with fragility and threat. In relation to one another, these eight shapes form a complex chain of relationships. Communication, extroversion, introversion are themes that have been central to Frei when creating this work.

The sculptural installation is presented together with a collage executed on the cover of a hand-made notepad. On the left cover is a manipulated image of a pipe-smoking Jean-Paul Sartre. In a thought bubble above his head is the famous quote by Magritte: “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”. On the right-hand cover, Frei has glued an advertising image of a stationary telephone, with the receiver lying next to the phone.

While the sculptural work refers back to a tradition where form and material have a significance in themselves beyond what they represent, the collage format here points to the capacity of strongly-coded signs to travel and be combined in new ways.

Frei’s work does not claim that all representation is independent of its origin; but rather, that materials, forms and signs can be twisted out of joint, and thereby influence our perception of time and space in both the cultural and material sense. In that respect, one could say that What Time Is It? also explores of the relationship between the formats of collage and sculpture.

Luca Frei

Born 1976 in Lugano [CH]

Lives and works in Malmö


2000–2002 Konsthögskolan i Malmö/Malmö Art Academy
1997–2000 Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh [UK]

Selected solo exhibitions

2010 They stared back at him with an expression of vicious, acrid boredom that trembled on the edge of violence, Balice Hertling, Paris [FR]
2010 1012 KD, If I can’t dance tonight, I don’t want to be part of your revolution, Frascati Theatre, Amsterdam [NL]
2008 Studies/Play, Lunds Konsthall, Lund

Selected group exhibitions

2010 The Incidental Person, Apexart, New York [US]
2009 Audio, Video, Disco, Kunsthalle Zürich, Zürich [CH]
2008 Three interventions by Luca Frei, Marine Hugonnier and Sean Snyder, Grazer Kunstverein, Graz [AT]

Selected bibliography

Santiago García Navarro, ”Luca Frei: Sin Referentes”, Exit Express, Madrid, 2010: s./pp. 56–57.
Elizabeth Schambelan, ”The View from Below”, Artforum, New York, 2007: s./pp. 93–96.
Lars Bang Larsen, ”Making room for learning and un-learning; jugglers and public space”, Frieze, London, 2006: s./p. 164.

More about this exhibition