This exhibition was on view April 13 – December 30, 2012.


Time flies, leaving its mark on the people and objects it touches. This exhibition explores how we try to capture, measure, and find meaning in the midst of time’s inevitable passage. Award-winning Chicago artist Antonia Contro has selected books, manuscripts, and curiosities from the APS collections and juxtaposed them with her own artwork, including drawings, paintings, videos, and a sound installation.

Click here to hear an interview about Tempus Fugit with APS Museum Director/Curator Sue Ann Prince and WRTI’s Jim Cotter.

In Contro’s words:

I have selected pieces from the library and museum’s extraordinary collections and placed them in conversation with my own art. They are bound in a variety of ways—situated in relationships that illuminate aesthetic similarities and contrasts. The exhibition weaves them together thematically and also presents them in ambiguous associations, inviting relative and subjective discoveries.

Time is the leitmotiv, a compelling organizing principle, the “search engine” that allows me to mine the veritable time capsule of APS…Time has shaped the venerable institution of the APS and its collections in infinite ways– the desire to preserve the past and understand the present and to pass those legacies to future generations, the race against time, and the simultaneous attempt to understand it are universal human yearnings. The quest for knowledge and the search for the meaning of life and explanations of the universe’s mysteries are inextricably linked to time.

Case 1, A Tempo

My work considers the nature of knowledge, how it is conveyed, and what ‘knowing’ is. I am interested in the relationship between common ways of distributing knowledge—words or equations—and the intuitive, often subliminal, ways we construct what we know to be true.

In this age of immediate and pervasive digital information that we most often access in isolation, I am passionate about the knowledge we attain through our senses, as well as art’s capacity to connect us to this increasingly rare experience. Everything that I make begins as a drawing, modest in scale and materials, typically contained in a bound book. These books become my laboratories. Images and ideas within them provoke deeper investigation—through collage, animation, light, sound—which often evolve into layered and expansive installations.

Case 6, Crescendo

My site-specific exhibitions create a space and context that place the observer physically inside the piece, activating their senses to receive and process the experience. Walking through a library along a series of unfolding collages. Stepping into a field tent to discover blue sky and a cloud shifting in an animated film. Seeing and hearing sand move through an immense hourglass. Opening a book.


Case 2, Sognando

All photos by Brent Wahl