CHRISTIAN MARCLAY Untitled (Crying), 2020 digital chromegenic print Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Fraenkel Gallery Features Work of Christian Marclay

Fraenkel Gallery is now presenting new work by Christian Marclay, through March 26, incorporating collage, video animation, and photography.

The exhibition continues Marclay’s investigation into the relationship between sound and image through sampling elements from art and popular culture, and reflects the anxiety and frustration of the current global pandemic and political crises, maintains the gallery.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a musical performance in which Marclay’s collage No! serves as a score, on a date to be scheduled soon.

The voice is at the center of the exhibition. In a series of photographs showing screaming faces, cut and torn fragments from comic books, movie stills, and images found on the internet are arranged into haunting, mask-like composites, and then recorded by the camera. Capturing the paper’s inherent creases and tears, the photographs mix analog and digital elements, and investigate the computer screen as a contemporary physical surface.

This exhibition marks the premiere of Fire, 2020, a hypnotic new animation. Using small pieces cut from comic books, the single-channel video work is an impressionistic representation of fire. Over fifteen hundred photographs shown in rapid succession suggest a flip book, creating the illusion of a flickering, fiery mosaic in motion. Flames are also the subject of Raging Fire, 2020, a large collage made of paper cutouts from comic book illustrations of fire. The piece transforms representations of all manner of war, catastrophe, explosion, and arson into abstracted yellows, oranges, and reds in a variety of styles.

Also on view will be No!, 2019, a set of 15 original collages made from comic book fragments. Conceived as a graphic score for a solo voice, these original collages were scanned and made into an edition to be used by performers. While earlier works such as Manga Scroll, 2010, incorporated onomatopoeias disconnected from their generative action, No! uses vocal utterances, facial expressions, and body movements to prompt a performance.

Writes Marclay: “Like my earlier graphic scores dating back to the 1990s, the use of words that illustrate their sonic counterparts engages non-traditional visualizations of sound as a possibility for generating music.”

As in his music and video works, which splice together found recordings and film footage, the comic book segments are culled and re-contextualized in vibrant, dynamic ways.