Sep 13, 2009

Christian Marclay - Visual Artist & Composer

Christian Marclay is a New York based visual artist and composer whose innovative work explores the juxtaposition between sound recording, photography, video and film. Born in California and raised in Geneva (Switzerland), he studied sculpture at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and at Cooper Union in New York. As performer and sound artist Christian Marclay has been experimenting, composing and performing with phonograph records and turntables since 1979 to create his unique "theater of found sound." Marclay has collaborated with musicians such as John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, Fred Frith, Zeena Parkins, Shelley Hirsh, Christian Wolff, Butch Morris, Otomo Yoshihide, Arto Lindsay, and Sonic Youth among many others. A dadaist DJ and filmmaker his installations and video / film collages display provocative musical and visual landscapes and have been included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art New York, Venice Biennale, Centre Pompidou Paris, Kunsthaus Zurich, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

A few minutes of Christian Marclay's 13-minute music/video installation Video Quartet called ‘replay’, as shot on DV at the Tate Modern in London (unauthorized, thus the crappy sound quality, sorry). I've stayed 3 hours there when i saw it the first time. A great idea and perfectly realized.
It's seen best in Marclay's two rapid anthologies of filmic snippets. The earliest is Telephones from 1995. For almost eight minutes, the phone rings or is dialled with nervous hands. It's a huge cinematic survey of telephonic jitters, rehearsing those gripping moments (again and again) when the remote tones enter someone else's mind with life-changing intelligence. The repetition makes the phone and actors look ridiculous.

Marclay discusses here his interest in unwanted sound, his use of turntables, early examples of his art and more recent pieces too.
The captivity of music in a record isn't the only subject of this strangely liberating vandalism. In fact, Marclay depends upon recorded music for his videos, both as form and subject matter. His works all contain recorded sound; it's his inspiration and goad. If there's a problem with recorded music, it's the mechanical nature of it. The wider target of Marclay's wrecking hands is the mechanistic, the scripted and the predictable.

Christian Marclay Body Mix series _199X

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