Multimedia, multiform, multi-fun: Christian Marclay

The image shows a colorful disc with blue, rose, white, yellow, orange and purple stripes and shapes on it. The object seems to be a painted vinyl cover. It is an art work by Christian Marclay.
Christian Marclay, Untitled (from Recycled Records), 1985. © Christian Marclay. Courtesy: Christian Marclay Studio, Photo: Seth Erickson.

Christian Marclay
November 16, 2022 – February 16, 2023
Centre Pompidou, Paris

Underrated, perhaps. I stumbled into Christian Marclay by chance, or happy coincidence. 

The exhibition is visually and conceptually interesting, no: convincing. Marclay works with the motif of repetition, interpreted as progress as enhancement.

The underlying principle of all the work is sound, and music in particular. Many of the works date from the 1980s and 1990s with the vinyl record marking a recurring motif: a video record of a group of performers experimenting with the sound capacities of the vinyl (scratching, shaking, breaking); his Recycled Records (1979), fragmented and collaged vinyl records in diverse color combinations; the altered and isolated vinyl covers as images in themselves [Imaginary Records, 1980s-1990s]. The works are conceptual, graphic, and sensual. 

Marclay’s collage-series Body Mix (1990) shows the human body – of famous music interpreters – assembled into innumerous sexual characters. His vinyl marionettes form postmodern interpretations of Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet (1912). Multimedia, multiform, multi-fun. 

The image shows a rose guitar on a stand. The neck of the guitar is falling to the ground as if melted. The object is an art work by Christian Marclay.
Christian Marclay, Prosthesis, 2000. © Christian Marclay. Courtesy: Christian Marclay Studio.

The exhibition is a voyage into film and music history as it is into a very particular artistic mind. 

Gestures (1999) presents four separate videos each showing the record of a vinyl being manipulated in various ways. Presented in a black room with the accompanying sound line, the work is disturbing, funky, tense, and meditative. Add some beat [and Bourbon] and one could have a lovely little party in here.

Telephones (1995) captures the length of a telephone call, and presents an autonomous film out of snippets; complete narration and the building up of tension included.

The artist’s Graphic Scores are image portfolios composed around the visual motif of the musical note: It’s representations in Kitsch and everyday objects, graffiti, and comics; hands on the keyboard of a portfolio. The works are careful, thoughtful, and beautiful.

This is a rich exhibition, artistically wide and inventive. Collage, experimental performance, installation, painting, film. Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, l’Informel, Pop Art; Haround Farocki and Hito Steyerl, and Anri Sala. 

Video Quartet (2002) stands as pars pro toto for Marclay’s filmic work, and artistic approach: The work is multi-layered, audio-visually complex and ahead of its times. #rarelyseensomethingalike

Many artists have heralded on the relation between music and visual art. Few have done it in such a thorough and fun way. 

Though this conclusion has been drawn here before: It’s genius.

The images shows various vinyl records with notes and tape on it. The objects were used by the artist Christian Marclay during his performances.
Christian Marclay, various discs with notes, used during the artist’s performances, 1979–1986. © Christian Marclay. Courtesy Christian Marclay Studio.

1 thought on “Multimedia, multiform, multi-fun: Christian Marclay”

  1. […] The second floor presents a completely different outlook. The works resemble outdoor games, puzzles, or geometric exercises. The works in room seven unfold like flowers creating an endless optical ring dance. Room five are visual waterplays; room eight Shostakovich capriccios. It’s waves and water, flower and flow, rhythm and rise. Form and fun.  […]

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