The Enigmatic Face of Time - Wacker Chemie AG

The Enigmatic Face of Time

No Distractions Please

Alainpers points to a clock made of 60 glass panes. A glass bead equipped with a diode has been glued onto each one. “Can you see anything?” he asks, only to answer the question himself: “No. The bond is completely transparent. That’s important to me. That way nothing detracts from the light effect.”

It takes about twelve hours for the adhesive to dry completely. But then it works forever. “Like the LEDs!” The mechanical resistance and the elasticity of the silicones do an excellent job. “The bonding also withstands sudden jolts well – should something fall down.” The structural properties of the adhesive, which automatically forms a compact round shape, practically eliminate the human error factor. “I use regular disposable syringes from the drugstore to apply the adhesive. If my work isn’t accurate, the consequences are minimized because the silicone is able to form the right shape by itself. The result almost always meets expectations and looks good,” says Alainpers, proving his point by picking up an abandoned syringe and pressing a drop of silicone onto a sheet of paper. Initially an unshapely blob, the droplet takes on a homogeneous round form a few minutes later.

“Silicone has the ability to form a round shape all by itself. That is one reason why the result is persuasive.”

Alainpers Light artist
“60 Opalescent Minutes” with 12 glass disks at its center. These disks are successively illuminated to show time. Around them, the seconds and minutes are gradually filled with blue light.

The table the syringe lay on is a work in progress: several batteries, cables, a soldering iron, random sheets of paper, rulers and adhesive tapes clutter the surface. Even though Alainpers’ most famous works are gigantic, the artist doesn’t need more than a small, modest studio for his designs. His office and studio are located in the drab 13th arrondissement of Paris, an eclectic architectural mix comprising modern high-rises, elegant, Haussmann-era apartment blocks and old low-rise buildings. On the ground floor of his studio, there are a few desks and a cast-iron spiral staircase leading to the basement whose ancient arches house countless shelves full of screws and tools. Generators and drills of various sizes are attached to the workbench over which cable trays are draped. There isn’t much room to move. But this doesn’t seem to bother him: “I mostly work alone. Most of the objects are set up elsewhere in collaboration with other companies.”