The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new cyanotypes by Christian Marclay, on view at 521 West 21st Street from September 4 through October 11.
Cyanotypes are unique photographic prints created by placing objects on a photosensitive surface. This early cameraless photographic process was developed in the1840s, and, much like a photogram, results in a silhouetted image varying in darkness based on the transparency of the object exposed to light. Commonly known as “blueprints” because of their distinctive Prussian blue color, this process was famously put to use by the 19th-century botanist Anna Atkins, and later used by architects and engineers as a method of reproducing drawings using only tracing paper and sunlight.
Continuing his exploration of the resonance between the visual and the sonic, Marclay’s cyanotypes capture the abstract tangles made by unspooled cassette tapes. Like party streamers, these lines of audiotape pulled loose from their plastic cassettes variously coil and twist, hang in catenary arches, or stretch across the surface of the prints. If the audio cassette has been rendered nearly obsolete by the evolution of technology, Marclay has reclaimed it as a tool for visual abstraction. Marclay has been called a “Dadaist DJ,” and these works recall early 20th-century avant-garde practices as well as Abstract Expressionist strategies for composition.
Marclay’s body of work – which spans video, sculpture, music, photography and collage – often examines various forms of the record, mining them for their technological contingencies and possibilities. In this new series, he exposes a sympathy between two outmoded kinds of recordings, the cyanotype and the cassette. These technologies intersect around ideas about sound and sight, reproduction and mediation, and an artistic practice of making, breaking, manipulating and keeping records.
The exhibition will also include a new video work by the artist, entitled “Looking for Love.” Christian Marclay (b. 1955, San Rafael, California) grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, where he studied at the Ecole Supérieure d’Art Visuel. In 1977, he moved to Boston and attended the Massachusetts College of Art, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Marclay’s work has been shown at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.; the Venice Biennale; Kunsthaus Zürich; Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, among others. In 2003, the UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, organized a midcareer retrospective of Marclay’s work which traveled to major international venues. From June through September of this year, the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain in Geneva, Switzerland will be presenting a show of Marclay’s photography. A video retrospective titled Replay, which premiered at the Cité de la Musique, Paris, will be presented at DHC/ART, Montréal, in November 2008.
In addition to his visual art and film-based work, Christian Marclay has also performed and recorded music with collaborators as diverse as John Zorn, the Kronos Quartet and Sonic Youth. He lives and works in New York City and London.