Christian Marclay

Christian Marclay

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Christian Marclay is a visual and multimedia artist of Swiss and American descent. Born in 1955, Marclay studied in Geneva, Boston and New York, where he became interested in the work of Joseph Beuys and the Fluxus movement. Over the past 30 years as explored the fusion of fine art and audio cultures, transforming sounds and music into a visible, physical form through performance, collage, sculpture, installation, photography and video.

In 1979 Marclay began experimenting with sound through the manipulation of turntables and vinyl records, which led to the production of his 1982 studio recording Groove.

Released in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory alone on vinyl for the first time having previously only been available on compilations, Groove is a mesmerising sound collage created by densely layering multiple copies of the same seven-inch single. Groove was made using an available 8-track recorder by applying stickers directly on the groove, causing the needle to skip and repeat.

Although it was never officially released Groove signalled a direction that Marclay has returned to throughout his career. Other early work includes a series of ‘Recycled Records’ (1980-86), fragmented and reassembled vinyl records that became hybrid objects that could be played, replete with abrupt leaps in tone and sound. For his ‘Body Mix’ series (1991-92), he stitched together album covers into works to create strange phantasms of music and culture – such as Deutsche Grammaphon conductors with the slender legs of Tina Turner – that bring to mind Surrealist ‘Exquisite Corpses’.

Over the last decade, Marclay has created ambitious work in a variety of media. Video Quartet (2002), a large, four-screen projection featuring hundreds of clips from old Hollywood films, with actors and musicians making sound or playing instruments, represents a high point of his vision, an elaborate audio-visual collage that evokes pop culture, appropriation art and sampling.

More recently he created The Clock (2010) from thousands of edited fragments, from a vast range of films to create a 24-hour, single-channel video. While The Clock examines how time, plot and duration are depicted in cinema, the video is also a working timepiece that is synchronised to the local time zone. At any moment, the viewer can look at the work and use it to tell the time. Yet the audience watching The Clock experiences a vast range of narratives, settings and moods within the space of a few minutes, making time unravel in countless directions at once.

Having exhibited at galleries around the world, including MoMA, Tate Modern and LACMA, in 2011 Marclay was awarded the Golden Lion at the Biennale di Venezia for The Clock.

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