Sound is central to Christian Marclays creative practice. Over the course of the last thirty years, the artist, who was born in San Rafael, California, in 1955, has built a complex oeuvre of videos, installations and performances that explore the relationship between music and the visual arts. Musique Concrète, acousmatic music and the DIY strategies of Punk and Fluxus have had a major impact on his work.
For the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
the Swiss-American artist, musician and pioneer of turntablism developed an exhibition that responds to the Sohm Archive. Taking as his starting point one of the worlds most extensive Fluxus collections, Christian Marclay focuses on interpretable scores and event instructions. At the heart of the exhibition is his 16-monitor video installation Shake Rattle and Roll (Fluxmix) of 2004 which playfully probes the acoustic potential of Fluxus multiples that were is-sued in the form of event scores, interactive boxes and toys as well as magazines and films. Marclay approaches these eccentric objects with affectionate irreverence. Disregarding their original purpose and instructions, he brings them back to life by activating their inherent sonic possibilities. His undermines his nod to proper conservatorial practice white gloves, neutral, sterile background by handling the objects in a decidedly non-conservatorial manner. Shaking and rattling them, he highlights the institutionalisation and decontextualisation of objects originally conceived to subvert time-honoured notions of art and high culture. A witty institutional critique, Shake Rattle and Roll (Fluxmix) culminates in a cacophony that is as clamorous as it is tongue-in-cheek.
Shake Rattle and Roll (Fluxmix) is complemented by a new video produced specifically for the exhibition in Stuttgart. It takes its starting point in a sound-based work from the holdings of the Sohm Archive by the Swiss avantgarde artist Dieter Roth (1930-1998) who blurred the boundaries between artistic disciplines as well as those between art and life.
The exhibition highlights the fundamentality of processes of formation and transformation for Marclays work and the importance he attaches to engaging and collaborating with other artists, musicians and the audience. This is illustrated by his work Chalkboard (2010), a large blackboard with musical staves, which invited visitors to pick up the chalk and sponge and add their own compositions or messages. The resulting scores of musical notes, scribbles, words and doodles were interpreted by invited musicians in a series of performances.
Also on show is Christian Marclays video Mixed Reviews (American Sign Language) (1999/2001), in which a deaf actor signs a text of sampled music reviews in American Sign Language (ASL). His animated gestures and facial expressions show that signing can be just as musical, aesthetic, and poetic as any aural language. The video is screened as part of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgarts series VIDEOBOX Silent Cinema.
The Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart and the Schauspiel Stuttgart are presenting a cooperative Fluxus-related performance programme to accompany Christian Marclays Video Scores and Graphic Scores as visual scores in the form of videos, sheet music posters and print editions.
From 14 October 2015 to 17 January 2016 the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart is presenting Christian Marclays Video Quartet (2002). The work is shown as part of the exhibition series "Sound in Motion. International Video and Performance Art".