When you (eventually) get into the Museé D’Orsay and walk past the beautiful white polar bear sculpture of Francois Pompon and up the stairs, you will eventually find the gigantic clock. Everybody does. It draws one like a magnet.
From miles around Parisians and tourists can see this great iconic clock face; they set their watches by it, plan their lives around it. But once you are inside the museum and standing on the large polished floor in this minimalist space, you are captivated by it. It sucks you in. You huddle in your groups like security blankets and shuffle closer. Just to see the world “out there” from behind this sheet glass facade; to stare like a voyeur from your hiding place.
And you are aware of the atmosphere. You realise why this enormous time piece has this effect on you: with its steady, never-ending Tock Tick, it reminds you that time is passing. My time, your time, all of our times.
It was only when I started this charcoal drawing on an old French newspaper page that it dawned on me why this experience had had such a profound impact on me. Why something was amiss; not quite right. As if there was something more sinister in the air. Tock Tick?
I realised that I’d been drawing the Roman numerals in the wrong place. I am INSIDE the clock, so the Three should be where Nine normally is.
And that the clock was, from my point of view, rotating anti-clockwise.
If, in its own sinister way, it was not showing how much time had passed by in going the opposite direction, just maybe it was counting down how much time is left.
It is Paris and I have just become acutely aware of what Piaf had meant when she said that one should live without regrets.
Charcoal on newspaper 68 x 52cm
André Beukes is an EU Management Consultant to international companies doing business in Europe. He provides clients with practical business support that makes a real difference doing business in the EU. “Put simply, I am here to help you meet your challenges. I believe in the importance of doing things correctly, meaning risks are reduced and problems are avoided.”