A knock, a kick, a scream, a swipe - all of the actions allude to certain sounds, some of which we do not necessarily reproduce in writing. Thinking about their onomatopoeic value, we come up with known phrases, mostly found in comic series, where the swoosh meets the bang, illustrated so vividly, pop art adopted much simplistic, arrestive nature of these phrases. We can find them all over the work of Roy Lichtenstein, for example, although his compositions are largely figurative, but there is an artist whose body of work is very much dedicated to the evocations of undefinable sounds alone.
He is Christian Marclay and he has been exploring connections between the visual and the audible for the past three decades, transforming sound into art in performance, photography, video, sculpture, installation, collage and, naturally, painting.
White Cube gallery announced a solo exhibition by Christian Marclay, showing a selection of the artist’s new works along with a dynamic program of weekly performances.
The White Cube show will have on display Marclay’s new paintings that investigate the relationship of image and sound, based on visuals borrowed from comics. All of the canvases share a joint focus, delivering the look of the sounds of painting, tones of active wet paint and actions of putting it onto canvas. Evoking the splattering, splashing and dripping sounds of painting, Marclay connects it to Abstract Expressionism on an ethereal level, while the visuals still lean on pop art, a very different movement in every sense. The connection between the two historically significant, but even opposing notions makes these paintings both bold and original. The concept is underlined by the materials used to produce the works, where painting and screen printing are combined.
The sound of painting will be emphasized by a large scale video installation projected across the gallery walls, in which the onomatopoeic interpretations are animated for the first time. A collection of sounds the artist found in superhero narratives was scanned and then animated through a After Effects software, making the Boom explode, and Whoosh or Zoom sweep across the wall rapidly. Even though the concept is based on the quality of what can be heard, the animation is silent, allowing the observer to imagine the audio value, while immersing into the visual presentation.
Most of the recent works allude to water induced or related sounds, while the Pub Crawl installation from 2014 is about the sound created on a set of empty glasses, bottles and cans found around East London. The instruments from scrap are then rolled, broken and crushed or hit, making a suggestive soundtrack to the exhibit.
The exhibition will be enriched by collaborative performances of London Sinfonietta and Christian Marclay every weekend, having the artists take on contemporary composers and improvisation. The Vinyl Factory Press, a singular hydraulic vinyl pressing machine will be featured at the show as well, as well as screen printing equipment from Coriander Studio in London. Visitors will be able to see the process of producing vinyl records, from the conception to the printing of sleeve.
Christian Marclay exhibition is opening with a set of special events scheduled during the preview weekend. During the opening days, there will be performances - on January 31, 2015, from 10am - 6pm with David Toop, and on February 1, 2015 from 12-6pm with John Butcher and London Sinfonietta. The show will run through April 12, 2015, promising much art & entertainment to the public.
According to Art Basel Sales report, Christian Marclay's paintings can sell for up to $400.000.
Superheroes are often an inspiration of artists, such as SEEN, for example.
Read a feature about their significance in urban contemporary art.
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