Christian Marclay

(San Rafael, California, 1955 - )

North America, American

Christian Marclay was born in California but was raised in Switzerland. He studied at Ecole Supérieure d'Art Visuel in Geneva before receiving a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston in 1980. A pioneer of incorporating sound and video into visual art practice, Marclay has long been fascinated by the material remnants of popular culture–thrift store vinyl and album covers, old Hollywood film footage, classic comic strips. These are the raw materials of Marclay’s multi-layered art, as in the Recycled Records series (1980-1986) when Marclay combined broken halves of records that functioned as both art objects and musical accompaniment (complete with blips and scratches) for Marclay’s performance art.

Marclay’s practice can be linked to sources as diverse as dada artist Marcel Duchamp’s idea of the readymade and composer and music theorist John Cage’s interest in found sound. Other major influences include the performance artist Joseph Beuys and members of the 1980s New York punk rock scene. Marclay’s early affinity for punk music and DJ culture continues to manifest itself in performances with musicians such as John Zorn and the band Sonic Youth.

Marclay has exhibited his work internationally, with solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2010), the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2006), Tate Modern in London (2004), and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. (1999), among others. Chistian Marclay was awarded a Golden Lion for The Clocks, which was included in the exhibition ILLUMInations at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011. The video work is a montage of film footage incorporating timepieces, and, with a runtime of 24 hours, was meticulously synchronized with the actual duration of time.

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