The Hole in the Center of Time

The Hole In The Center of Time was initially inspired not by the cosmos, but by a prehistoric cave that Rosenquist toured while traveling in Spain, which he explains, “My visit to the cave left me with an uncanny feeling, and I knew I had to ask myself a few questions about time in the next series of work. I wasn’t looking to answer questions, rather I was discovering new questions to ask myself – How do you use time? What do you do with it? – simple questions, questions of perception.” It is precisely this persistence in challenging diverse modes of perception, whether aesthetic or philosophical, that has secured Rosenquist’s legacy as a pillar of contemporary visual culture, both at present and beyond. (20)

The Infinite Sweep of the
Minute Hand. 2007.

Time Stops but the Clock

Disappears. 2008.


The Centrifugal Exploding Time Piece. 2008.


Time Stops the Face Continues 2008.


Speed of Light Illustrated. 2008.


The Hole in the Center of the Clock:

Time Keeper. 2008.


The Hole in the Center of the Clock:

Night Numbers. 2008.


James Rosenquist's recent paintings, which he refers to collectively as The Hole in the Center of Time, are related to one another and to his earlier Speed of Light and Time Blades images.  These works suggest the vast reaches of space and the enormous stretches of time that make up the universe.  They also suggest the way in which space and time change as the universe evolves.  Some of the paintings seem to be about how points in space and moments in time can be transformed depending upon our speed and position as observers; others suggest primordial fluctuations in the fabric of spacetime itself.  By involving themselves with such prospects, the paintings raise a great many interesting questions and suggest any numbers of interpretive approaches to their meaning.

The Hole in the Center of Time is a self-portrait or a reference to himself, since the paintings in the series manifest his thinking about the changing events that constitute the present moment. Thus considered, his position at the center of his own experience can be taken as a gap or a hole situated between the past and the future, an opening that nevertheless confirms his existence. (19)