Situación de tiempo, 1967

Situation of Time, 1967
Media installation, Variable dimensions

David Lamelas was a pioneer in radically repositioning sculpture during the 1960s and 1970s with a proposal that abandoned the traditional definitions of the medium and displaced its materials and modes of production. His projects display a highly individual treatment of time and space, questioning the limits of art’s temporality and its potential for creating alternative processes of communication and cognition. His artwork has also analysed the exhibition context, resulting in an institutional critique and questioning art’s status and the art market. Furthermore, his view of the passive role imposed on the public by the mass media has led him to address the conditions under which the object of mass media communication and images are produced and decoded.

While living in Argentina he showed his work regularly at the Instituto Torcuatodi Tella in Buenos Aires, a non-profit institute around which a vanguard movement assembled. In 1967 Lamelas was invited by the institute to contribute to the landmark exhibition Experiencias visuals. He presented Situación de Tiempo, the last work he exhibited in Argentina before leaving for London. For this installation he aligned seventeen television sets – the latest models produced by Di Tella Electronics – along three walls of a darkened gallery. Without image and tuned to a non-existent channel, they emitted a bright light that completely took over the room. By depriving the television sets of their function as purveyors of pictures and information, Lamelas reduced them to a zero point, a visible remnant generating a kind of white noise, a ‘static’ of pure mediality in time.1 As the artist recalls in an interview from 1972: ‘You could only see the snow effect and hear an electronic sound. At this point, I was interested in non-descriptive, non-physical art pieces.’ By making the presence of the technological object dominant, he called attention to the temporal nature of the electronic medium and its capacity to modify an environment; the television sets only projected light, the basic condition for the cinematographic image.

Technical details

Original title:
Situación de tiempo
Registration number:
Lamelas, David
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
Object type:
Media installation
Flickering light on 17 television sets
Variable dimensions
Edition number:
Ed. 1/1 + 1 P.A.
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
© David Lamelas
It has accessibility resources:

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

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Situación de Tiempo