49 Geary Street, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94108
January 21, 2021 - March 26, 2021
Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present new work by Christian Marclay, incorporating collage, video animation, and photography. The exhibition continues Marclay’s investigation into the relationship between sound and image through sampling elements from art and popular culture, and reflects the anxiety and frustration of the current global pandemic and political crises. The exhibition will be on view in the gallery from January 21 to March 26, 2021, and will be accompanied by a musical performance in which Marclay’s collage No! serves as a score, on a date to be scheduled soon.
The voice is at the center of the exhibition. In a series of photographs showing screaming faces, cut and torn fragments from comic books, movie stills, and images found on the internet are arranged into haunting, mask-like composites, and then recorded by the camera. Capturing the paper’s inherent creases and tears, the photographs mix analog and digital elements, and investigate the computer screen as a contemporary physical surface.
This exhibition marks the premiere of Fire, 2020, a hypnotic new animation. Using small pieces cut from comic books, the single-channel video work is an impressionistic representation of fire. Hundreds of photographs shown in rapid succession suggest a flip book, creating the illusion of a flickering, fiery mosaic in motion. Flames are also the subject of Raging Fire, 2020, a large collage made of paper cutouts from comic book illustrations of fire. The piece transforms representations of all manner of war, catastrophe, explosion, and arson into abstracted yellows, oranges, and reds in a variety of styles.
Also on view will be No!, 2019, a set of 15 original collages made from comic book fragments, and No!, 2020, a graphic score for a solo voice that comprises a facsimile of the 2019 collages. While earlier works such as Manga Scroll, 2010, incorporated onomatopoeias disconnected from their generative action, No! uses vocal utterances, facial expressions, and body movements to prompt a performance. Writes Marclay, “Like my earlier graphic scores dating back to the 1990s, the use of words that illustrate their sonic counterparts engages non-traditional visualizations of sound as a possibility for generating music.” As in his music and video works, which splice together found recordings and film footage, the comic book segments are culled and re- contextualized in vibrant, dynamic ways.
Christian Marclay (born 1955) works in a sampling aesthetic, using fragments from the ephemera of popular culture to create new forms and meanings. Marclay’s work has been shown in museums and galleries internationally, including recent major one-person exhibitions at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as well as Kunsthaus, Zurich; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Marclay received the Golden Lion award for best artist at the 54th Venice Biennale for his 24-hour virtuosic video piece, The Clock, which has been shown widely to great acclaim. His work is in the collection of Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Kunsthalle Zurich; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montreal; Philadelphia Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Modern, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others.