Christian Marclay Is Still a Teenage Nerd at Heart, Digby Warde-Aldam, δημοσίευση στο ArtReview [21/2/2023]Marilena Pateraki
An exhibition at Centre Pompidou, Paris, is a reminder of the artist’s cultivated air of hobbyist enthusiasm – ‘an attribute that grates as much as it charms’
For the past 40 years, Christian Marclay has been using his work to explore the afterlife of redundant technology and vintage pop-cultural imagery, and his evident affection for the material detritus of the late twentieth century – from vinyl records and dial-up telephones to comic books and B-movies – carries with it a distinct air of hobbyist enthusiasm. Over the course of this partial retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, encompassing a dozen galleries and more than 200 works, it’s an attribute that grates as much as it charms.
Marclay is not strictly a nostalgist: his earliest use of records and tapes as a medium predates their commercial decline. Record Players (1984), for example, is a video in which the artist scratches, wobbles or bangs vinyl LPs against each other; The Beatles (1989) takes the form of a cushion-shaped object knitted from tape ribbon pulled from cassettes of the titular group’s albums; Body Mix (1991–93) sees album covers depicting the human physique arranged on the wall in a kind of rock’n’roll take on the Surrealist game ‘Exquisite Corpse’.
While Marclay’s work has become ever more formally ambitious since, it still carries the same spirit of teenage nerdishness and late-night stoner humour. For all its technical accomplishments, even his most celebrated work, 2010’s The Clock – a 24-hour compilation of clips from film and TV in which clock faces display the actual time of the place in which the artwork is screened – can be read the same way. That work is not present here (small wonder: Marclay describes it as ‘the albatross’) but we do get Doors (2022), a new video installation that follows much the same formula: we glimpse clips from films in which characters open and shut doors, cutting to a different cinematic source every time one closes.
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