In the early 20th century, painter Wassily Kandinsky found sound in colours. In the 1950s, composer John Cage proposed a score to interpret silence. Now, the MACBA presents the work of Christian Marclay (1955), who explores this same relationship between sound and art. The exhibition isn't so much a retrospective but a look at his works that most have to do with the multiple ways that sound can manifest visually.
Eloquently silent, the exhibition begins with a noisy installation in 'Video Quartet', a powerful audiovisual composition on four screens made from fragments of films that come together to form a hypnotizing music quartet. 'The Clock' explores the representation of sound from different sides. The impossibility of describing music with words is what you get in 'Mixed Reviews', a collage made from bits of printed music reviews that spell out a long sentence in black on white and runs all along the exhibition.
Marclay’s work has been shaped by appropriation, assembly, performance, and improvisation. The interactive installation 'The Chalkboard' is a good example of his way of working. Made of a large blackboard full of empty staves, this piece invites you to write, doodle and draw a to build a collective score that will be performed in a series of concerts throughout the exhibition.
The artist has also explored the textual approach to sounds. An excellent example of this is the piece 'Zoom Zoom', a slide show that, by way of graphic scores, brings together the use of onomatopoeias in advertising and graphic design. The immersive installation 'Surround Sounds', a vibrant silent animation made with words taken from comics, is the culmination of the investigation. It's all about seeing and imagining sound, rather than hearing it.