Sound and our understanding of it are central to the American-Swiss artist and musician. His collages, installations, photographs, videos, performances and publications are characterized by the principle of sampling as the appropriation of existing acoustic and visual material that is integrated into new contexts. Musique Concrète, acousmatic music, readymade and do-it-yourself strategies of punk, and especially the Fluxus movement with its special combination of music and performance are early influences.
Marclay's exhibition revolves around aspects of the playful as well as the random in connection with the musical. The focus is on his video installation "Shake Rattle and Roll" (Fluxmix) (2004) and his newly produced video "Bildspiel" (2015), which was created in conjunction with the Sohm Archive. The collection of Hanns Sohm is one of the world's most important Fluxus holdings and has been in the possession of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart since 1981.
Playful as well as critical of institutions, Marclay activates Fluxus objects and a "Kugelbild" by the Swiss artist Dieter Roth (1930-1998) from the 1960s. The objects, originally intended to be anti-museum and to be used by viewers, are here examined by Marclay for their acoustic possibilities, quite against their original intention. He plays them like instruments and lets them enter into a polyphonic dialogue. The exchange also results in the work "Chalkboard" (2010) as a wall-filling board with staves on which visitors create their notations with chalk and sponge and musicians interpret the sound pieces thus produced in the course of the exhibition.
Complementing this, from Nov. 3 to 29, 2015, the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart will show Christian Marclay's video "Mixed Reviews (American Sign Language)" (1999/2001), in which a deaf actor interprets a text based on sampled music reviews in a decidedly musical way with his expressive gestures and facial expressions, in its film and video series VideoBox: "Silent" Cinema.
The Kunstmuseum Stuttgart is presenting Marclay's "Video Quartet" (2002) in parallel from Oct. 15, 2015, to Jan. 17, 2016, as part of the series "Sound in Motion. International Video and Performance Art." Based on the found-footage principle, the four-channel video installation is composed of film sequences from cinema history from the 1920s to the present day. Marclay combines disparate elements, with music in the foreground, to create his own composition.