Matthew Marks Gallery

Tick Tock


Essay by Helen Molesworth

80 pages
61 images
9¼ × 7⅞ inches; 23 × 20 cm
ISBN 9781944929169

Robert Gober: Tick Tock, like the exhibition of the same name — Gober’s first since his 2014 survey at the Museum of Modern Art — has three sections. In the first, a series of fourteen drawings depict tree trunks, human torsos, and barred windows. In the second, eighteen wall-mounted assemblages of two- and three-dimensional elements feature fragments and motifs from Gober’s prior sculptures; in the essay Helen Molewsworth describes them as “what happens to memories when they are literally objectified — when they take up residence outside of us. They show us memory polished.”

The final section centers on a sculpture first shown at the 2001 Venice Biennale, where Gober represented the United States. Inspired by his childhood home and modeled after a church on Long Island, the sculpture depicts a pair of cellar doors opening on a staircase set into the gallery floor. At the foot of the stairs, a yellow door with a handle of braided human hair leaks light around its edges. Molewsworth likens this sculpture’s role to that of an altar in a sacred space: “It exists in a realm different from ours. Despite the matter of its being mere inches away, we are obliged to stand apart from it.”

Extensively illustrated with more than sixty images, including details and exhibition views, Robert Gober: Tick Tock is a testament to the artist’s explorations of faith and loss through metaphor. “Memory is like looking up at the stars,” Gober has said. “It’s not a linear thing.”