David Clegg

the miserable idea of measurement

5 March - 31 May


David Clegg



Maybe the only thing that hints at a sense of Time is rhythm; not the recurrent beats of the rhythm but the gap between two such beats, the gray gap between black beats: the Tender Interval. The regular throb itself merely brings back the miserable idea of measurement, but in between something like true Time lurks.

New Plymouth based artist David Clegg presents a project in a newly opened annex of Artspace. Clegg’s the miserable idea of measurement is an investigation into the recently cleared out archive room that is situated above the Artspace entrance-way. Dubbed by Clegg as an ‘elevated bunker’, this intriguing space is both the subject and site of Clegg’s project. The site’s non-status as an archive is appropriate as the artist’s project develops from a set of ideas from his 2002 and 2005 projects imaginary museum and archivedestruct

Clegg’s imaginary museum involved research into particular spaces, such as famous large European museums and galleries. Clegg began by walking through the spaces talking to the people who work there daily and recording their conversations. Due to the sheer amount of spaces visited, the importance of the particular content of the conversations—the (often offhand) descriptions given by curators, gallery managers and installation technicians—fade in favor of the delights and terrors of the sounds of the site, a process which he calls ‘interviewing the space’. 

In the miserable idea of measurement Clegg’s preoccupation with the repetition, rhythm and duration of particular sites does not offer a static picture of the space—he seldom allows himself to sit within the confines of the space unaffected by its surroundings. Sounds of cafés, conversations, corridors and games can be heard which suggest a layering-up and a restaging of sites and situations into a picture of space which only exists as there is movement through it. In this project we see how his practice opens itself out to the simple idea that there’s never a perfect transfer which is not somehow altered or interrupted by something outside, deflecting its message.

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