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White Gray Black

Christian Marclay (American and Swiss, born 1955)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

American sculptor, installation artist and musician. He studied at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston in the late 1970s, and whilst on an exchange programme to New York he began presenting performances involving experimental music. His early visual work played on his interest in music: his Record without a Cover, released in 1985 by Recycled Records in New York, was a recording of his music distributed to record shops in the normal manner but bearing the instructions that it should not be placed in any kind of sleeve or cover. The Beatles (1989; see 1998 exh. cat., p. 24) destroys the possibility of sound altogether, consisting as it does of a pillow crocheted from cassette tape of the entire Beatles back catalogue. The relationship between sound and non-sound, and between objects brought together in unexpected combinations, are central concerns in Marclay’s work. Black and White (1992; see 1998 exh. cat., p. 43) is one in a series of composite images made by sewing LP covers together to make hybrid figures, echoing the scratching and sampling of his earlier sound work. In the installation Echo and Narcissus (1992; Jerusalem, Israel Mus.), 14000 CDs cover the gallery floor so that the viewer walks over them, their purpose as music recordings warped into a shiny surface, with the only sound being the viewers’ footsteps. Marclay’s practice purposefully straddles both gallery-based visual art and pop music, exploring ways of disrupting our perceptions of sound and identity using techniques of collage, scratching, misplacement and surprise.

Catherine M. Grant
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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