Christian Marclay: the art of audiovisual transformation


Until February 27, 2023, the Centre Pompidou is hosting the exhibition simply titled Christian Marclay. Immerse yourself in the world of the Swiss-American artist through the 200 artworks inside the famous cultural institution.

Christian Marclay invitation disk exhibition Centre Pompidou
More than 200 artworks by Christian Marclay are on view at the Centre Pompidou until February 27, 2023.

Sculptor, video artist, musician, composer, visual artist… Christian Marclay is a true contemporary multi-talented artist. He expresses himself through noise, silence, music, photography, sculpture and video. A collage virtuoso, he skillfully assembles vinyl covers, onomatopoeia, comic strips, but also film extracts.

JI’m used to mixing things up and for me it’s a way to DJ with everything around me. The images and sounds that come from everyday life are there, ready and waiting to be used. What interests me, is reacting to our environment.

Christian Marclay

Christian Marclay at the Centre Pompidou: vinyl

Christian Marclay draws his inspiration from vinyl records. In the early 80s, he was one of the first “turntablists” who knew how to make the turntable a musical instrument in its own right.

Where the artist uvupv recreates the covers of iconic albums with Lego, Christian Marclay plays with record covers by combining different illustrations / photographs. Among his most iconic creations are “Guitar Neck”, a guitar neck created with seven different album covers, and “Untitled (Large Circle)”, a giant circle made of superimposed covers where only the mouths appear.

Christian Marclay at the Centre Pompidou: video installations

Christian Marclay also reveals his love for cinema through his creations. In the 80s, the artist first used cinema as his muse. “The Clock” (2010) is a 24-hour video that uses clock shots taken from different films. Cleverly designed, this collage, which took 3 years of work, displays the exact time like a real clock. This video installation won him the Golden Lion for best artist at the Venice Biennale!

The remarkable video “The Doors” (2012) uses excerpts of doors selected from different films. They open up to move from one era to another. Every detail is taken into account so that the spectator is immersed in the artwork: an 80s actor in color enters a black and white movie of the 50s. You know it’s not the same actor, but your mind wants to believe it’s him.

To create an effect of continuity, I have to find a rhythm, a smooth dynamism that links each door opening and closing. It is not easy, because all doors open differently, quickly or hesitantly, they are pushed or pulled, the hinge is on the left or on the right…

Christian Marclay

Christian Marclay at the Centre Pompidou: onomatopoeia, comics and manga

At the heart of the exhibition Christian Marclay, one can also find the passion of the artist for comics and manga through a series of collages using onomatopoeia such as OOoh, AaaaAhh, Blam, etc.

This system of suggesting mental sounds becomes even more interesting in front of the silent video installation “Surrounds Sounds” where these words are projected onto the walls at high speed. These words with expressive fonts and bright colors that represent sound effects are animated to suggest their acoustic properties. Although silent, the artwork is like a musical composition, merging the auditory and the visual.

Silent video installation "Surrounds Sounds" by Christian Marclay
The video installation “Surround Sounds” includes 4 synchronized projections that quickly display different onomatopoeia.

In this retrospective, one recognizes the style of the artist, who subtly plays with provocation and humor. “There is a lot of humor. But behind this humor, I believe that there is a reality that is a little darker” explains the artist.

See these playful and sophisticated artworks until February 27, 2023, at the Centre Pompidou.

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En pleine découverte du monde de la hi-fi et du home-cinéma, Son-Vidé est sans conteste devenu ma caverne d’Ali Baba. Jazz, Rock, Pop, Soul, Rap… Mes goûts musicaux, comme cinématographiques, sont très variés. Pour donner vie à mes playlists préférées, j’ai choisi l’amplificateur Marantz PM-6006, accompagné de la paire d'enceintes colonne Elipson Prestige Facet 14F.

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