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White Cube - Christian Marclay


White Cube
Christian Marclay. Video Quartet
11 July – 30 August 2003

An internationally acclaimed visual artist, experimental musician and composer, over the last two decades Christian Marclay has consistently surprised with his surrealistic musical objects, video installations, solo performances and large-scale collaborations involving musicians from every imaginable genre. Marclay's oeuvre resembles a Moebius strip, looping endlessly in upon itself to create ever more challenging relations, propositions and configurations between and within the respective archaeologies of music, art and everyday life. In his restless yet detailed explorations of the barely charted experimental terrain in which these parallel disciplines meet, Marclay fuses surfaces, textures, histories and frequencies of music in both material and sonic manifestations.

White Cube and Inside the White Cube have combined resources, literally and conceptually, to present two separate, complementary exhibitions of Marclay's work, which, together with a live performance by Marclay with the London Musicians' Collective, will give a broad sampling of the artist's constantly expanding reach.

White Cube will present the European premiere of Marclay's most recent and possibly most accomplished work to date, the epic Video Quartet, a visual and sonic collage that explores a kind of collective film memory, using extracts from well-known Hollywood movies, with an overlaid, sampled soundtrack. Of its first presentation in the U.S, New York Times art critic Roberta Smith exclaimed, “Marclay has never brought music, sound and image into such perfect, beautiful, funny alignment, nor conflated seeing and hearing so ecstatically… amount of naming names, identifying individual movies or describing scenes can account for the work's delicious, fast-paced flow.” For this work, Marclay collected thousands of Hollywood movie clips featuring images of hands on keyboards, horns and violins, as well as men and women singing, dancing and engaging in various other acts of making noise. Using a standard laptop editing programme, he then choreographed the unaltered snippets into a dazzling dramaturgical flow. The resulting work is a seventeen minute, four screen DVD projection which brilliantly conflates levels of the real and the artificial from Jimi Hendrix in concert to Elvis in “Jailhouse Rock,” and syncopates explosions and pratfalls, lines up trumpeters, pairs piano-players, and strings together movie screams culminating in Maria Callas's famous high C. Video Quartet is a tour de force, an erudite yet highly spirited sampling of the history of music in film and film in music, from a master of the mix.

For his exhibition at Inside the White Cube Marclay will show for the very first time a grouping of intimate “notations” drawn from different phases of his personal archive. Echoing his performative strategies as a turntablist, Marclay will mix unique works on paper - intricate collages, drawings, photocopies and other forms of graphic notation - with the snap-shot photographs that constitute his ongoing research into the incidence of sound as image in the everyday.

The London Musicians Collective will present Christian Marclay in concert, his first London appearance for twelve years. Using vinyl records as his “musical instruments”, Marclay mixes altered records on multiple turntables in a display of precise and abusive manipulations. His work can be seen against the horizon of John Cage and other such avant-garde musicians, where chance and space are welcomed as integral parts of a work. For Marclay, his procedural method is about “evolving structures where I can eventually lose control,” with his cut-up techniques and slash 'n' burn approach to vinyl transforming the way that music is understood, listened to, and made. An influence on every DJ in the world, Marclay is the acknowledged master of plunderphonia, radical mixdown and extended technique. Over more than twenty years, Marclay has worked with such experimental luminaries as the Kronos Quartet, John Zorn, Toshio Kajawara, Zeena Parkins, Butch Morris and Sonic Youth. Marclay will perform both solo and with special guest Steve Beresford on Friday 4 July at The Spitz, London.

Christian Marclay was born in California in 1955 and grew up in Switzerland. He moved back to the U.S. in 1977 and currently lives in New York City. He has been performing and recording music throughout Europe, Japan and the U.S since 1979. His sculptures, installations and projects in musical history have been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Kunsthaus Zurich and the Whitney Museum of American Art. At present, Marclay has concurrent museum exhibitions in the U.S; a project exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Bell and the Glass, and a survey of his work at the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

Inside the White Cube will be open from Tuesday through Saturday, 10am – 6pm, with changing exhibitions opening on the first Tuesday of every month. Inside the White Cube can also be followed as a sub-site on the White Cube website: Inside the White Cube is generously presented in association with Dornbracht, /, the German manufacturer of high-quality design fittings, accessories and interiors.


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