Tempus Volat, Hora FugitTime Flies, Hours Flee

March 20, 2023 through March 17, 2024

Christian Sampson (American, b. 1974)
Tempus volat, hora fugit, 2023
Vernal Equinox Part 1
Dichroic and vinyl film on glass

The title of this four-part installation series translates from Latin to “time flies, hours flee.” Through the seemingly simple means of light and color, this immersive artwork addresses the passage of time, and the magnitude of our natural world. One may find themselves following rays of sunlight in ways they never have before, contemplating the very turning of the earth’s axis.

Each iterative installation takes place according to the astronomical calendar. For the Vernal Equinox, Sampson emphasized a sense of balance and symmetry, referencing the fact that the Equinoxes mark the times of year when, across the world, the length of daylight is just about equal to the length of night (the word translates from Latin to “equal night”). Sampson enhanced the east wall further during the Summer Solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere experiences Earth’s maximum tilt toward the sun, resulting in the year’s longest day. Additionally, he directed his attention to the western side and some of the highest reaches of the Mary Alice McClendon Conservatory. For the Autumnal Equinox, the artist has focused on the interaction of discs of color suspended from the Conservatory’s skylight. This addition allows for a near-continuous display of light from dawn until sunset, capturing the sunlight as it passes directly overhead.

Sampson is a multimedia artist whose practice is anchored largely by philosophies related to the Light and Space movement that originated in California in the 1960s, particularly the ideas of ephemerality and optical perception. He also has an affinity for early film mediums and animation, and certainly there is a durational, cinematic quality to his work. Sampson has worked site-specifically, spending time in the MFA Conservatory to experience the changing of light that is so beautifully captured in our east-facing wall of windows that look out onto the Bay.

Sampson earned his BFA from Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, FL and an MFA from Hunter College, New York City, NY. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States as well as at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France. He lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.