Christian Marclay is one of those artists who seems to have experimented with almost every medium out there. In the 1980’s he was pioneering the use of the turntable as an experimental musical instrument by playing intentionally scratched or skipping records on multiple turntables simultaneously. He has performed with some of the giants of avant garde music such as John Zorn and the Kronos Quartet.
He is also a sculptor and installation artist who works with found materials that always involve the idea of sound.
Tape Fall- reel to reel recorder, ladder, magnetic tape, 1989
Moebius Loop- cassette tapes, zip ties, 1994
Virtuoso- altered accordion, 2000
He is a collage artist who uses album covers as his medium.
And most recently, he is a video artist who obsessively cuts and splices together scenes from existing films of similar everyday actions such as telephone conversations or people checking the time on a clock or a watch.
Both my sculpture and my painting have always been influenced by architecture, but my first exposure to the work of Gordon Matta-Clark changed the way I think about architecture fundamentally. His sculptural work was not only about architecture, but it used existing architecture as its medium much like a stone carver used a block of marble as a medium to carve a statue from. For Matta-Clark, the house itself was the medium to be used to create the work.
For some reason, my brain has always thought in terms of architectural spaces and I think that Matta-Clark’s rupturing of those spaces exposes a lot about the psychology of the public and the private. In all of the apartments I have ever lived in, I’ve realized that the layout had a utilitarian purpose. The bathrooms line up with other bathrooms because of the plumbing and the bedrooms line up with other bedrooms for sleeping purposes. That means that in your apartment, on the other side of your bedroom wall, you may very well be sleeping literally two feet away from someone you don’t know, which has always been something I’ve had to tell myself is perfectly normal when I still think it’s creepy.
Although this video is filmed in silent Super 8, it does capture the hard work involved in cutting an actual house in half and then lowering the back half a few inches so that the entire thing opens up.
Another thing that I find interesting about this piece is the fact that he cut the four corners out of the house before it was finally demolished… The major point of the entire artwork is the fact that it existed outside the museum, but these were the the few things that the museum could keep as souvenirs, or possibly the “scalps” of the house that was to be demolished within weeks of the completion of the work.
I’ve never seen anything quite like this. I am normally a bit skeptical of artwork that relies too heavily on new technologies. After the wow-factor wears off, you are left with something that is purely decorative. But I have to throw all that skepticism aside with this one and just sit mesmerized after I pick my jaw up off the floor. The sculpture apparently uses electromagnets to control an iron/oil-based liquid called ferrofluid.
From the website:
The body of the tower was made by a new technique called “ferrofluid sculpture” that enables artists to create dynamic sculptures with fluid materials. This technique uses one electromagnet, and its iron core is extended and sculpted. The ferrofluid covers the sculpted surface of a three-dimensional iron shape that was made on an electronic NC lathe. The movement of the spikes in the fluid is controlled dynamically on the surface by adjusting the power of the electromagnet. The shape of the iron body is designed as helical so that the fluid can move to the top of the helical tower when the magnetic field is strong enough.