Press Office Exhibition

SFMOMA Spins Christian Marclay

Released: January 02, 2002

From April 11 to July 28, 2002, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will present Sampling/Christian Marclay, a multidimensional exhibition highlighting the versatile talents of an artist whose career has unfolded in the field of music and visual arts. The exhibition features a newly commissioned four-channel video installation and the West Coast premiere of the film Up and Out. Sampling/Christian Marclay is organized by SFMOMA Curator of Media Arts Benjamin Weil.

The intimate relationship between the visual record and recorded sound is the driving force in Marclay's work. The installation Tape Fall presents the literal transformation of sound from invisible magnetic record into visible presence. Audiotape, bearing a recording of dripping water, flows across the head of a reel-to-reel player mounted near a high ceiling. In the absence of a pick-up reel, the tape falls into apparent oblivion—only to reemerge as part of a huge mound of tape that, as it grows, becomes a monument to itself.

Central to the exhibition is a newly commissioned piece titled Video Quartet. Four DVD videos are projected simultaneously side by side, synchronized by a digital "control system." Each video features an edited compilation of found film footage—much of it excerpted from Hollywood films—that features actors and musicians playing instruments or making sounds. When each projection is edited and orchestrated in relation to the three others to form a cohesive musical and visual composition, the four projections create a virtual musical quartet in which unrelated performers play together. Synchronized sound acts as the binding element between the disparate images, which are drawn from a variety of film genres, including black and white, contemporary color, animated cartoons and musicals. In this multi-screen collage, time and film chronology are disrupted to allow a cast of many to perform in a new musical narrative, a composition that is as much musical as it is visual.

Sampling/Christian Marclay also features a screening of Up and Out, a project that synchronizes the visual footage of Michelangelo Antonioni's celebrated 1966 film Blowup with the soundtrack and dialogue of Blow Out, Brian De Palma's 1981 homage to the Antonioni classic. This work, which has never before been seen on the West Coast, will be shown in the Museum's Phyllis Wattis Theater on Thursday, April 11 at 7 p.m. as part of the Museum's monthly film series, The Seventh Art: New Dimensions in Cinema.

Born in 1955 in San Rafael, Marclay lives, performs and works in New York City. His many musical collaborations include recorded and live performances with Sonic Youth, Kronos Quartet and Merce Cunningham.

Sampling/Christian Marclay is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Support for this exhibition has been generously provided by The James Family Foundation.