»Graffiti Composition« (1996 / 2002)
Born in 1955 in California, raised in Geneva, and now a resident of New York, Christian Marclay works with records, which he employs both as objects and as recordings in his sculptures, videos, concerts and CDs. During the '80s, he stirred up attention with his many appearances as a »record-player«, composing live sound-collages on multiple turntables. He became known for his collaborations with John Zorn, Butch Morris, David Moss, Elliott Sharp, Fred Frith, Arto Lindsay, Nicolas Collins, Zeena Parkins, Ikue Mori, Shelley Hirsch and others including DJ Spooky and DJ Olive. Numerous tours and exhibitions took him to the USA, Europe and Japan. He participated in international festivals such as New Music America and the festivals in Willisau and Moers. In recent years, Marclay has gained increasing international recognition as a visual artist, although music continues to be the subject of his work. He takes records, record covers, and loudspeakers, but also musical instruments and natural sounds, and makes them into musical environments. At times he humorously and critically examines how everyday culture and the entertainment industry have fetishized the phonograph record, or he will visualize music in sensational performances and installations. In addition to his many exhibitions at the Whitney Museum in New York, the Shedhalle in Zurich, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne and elsewhere, Marclay received the Zurich Art Association's Young Art Award in 1997 and represented Switzerland in 1995 and 1999 at the Venice Biennale.
Marclay has also long been a familiar and important figure in Berlin. In 1993, while living in the city as a guest of the DAAD, he staged the enormous simultaneous concert »Berlin Mix« for the 10th anniversary of Freunde Guter Musik. Instead of sampling records, he arranged the diverse repertoire of over 180 musicians of all styles and genres into a polyphonic and multicultural musical tableau. A few years later, in 1996, all »Berliners« could themselves participate in a collective city-wide composition. As part of »sonambiente – festival for hearing and seeing«, Christian Marclay papered the city with 5,000 blank sheets of staff paper, an open invitation to the public to write down notes or any kind of graffiti on them for his work »Graffiti Composition«. The »compositions« made in this way were then photographically documented. Marclay later selected a group of these photos for a fine press edition, and it is on the basis of this edition that a portion of the extensive, collectively-created score is now being musically realized for the first time. The musicians invited by Christian Marclay are all highly experienced in dealing with open notations and improvisational forms. Butch Morris, leader of the well-known »Conduction« projects, a kind of conducted collective improvisational music, is one of the key figures of the international improvisation scene. In this project, he works with the resident Berlin ensemble zeitkratzer. Both Shelley Hirsch and Anthony Coleman are internationally known, Hirsch as a phenomenally versatile vocal artist, and keyboard player Coleman as an eccentric commuter between jazz and the electronic avant-garde. A selection of the scores the musicians will interpret will be displayed on the upper level of the Neue Nationalgalerie for the premiere.
With support of Verein der Freunde der Nationalgalerie.