(American, b.1955) is a sculptor, video artist, and musician. He was born in California and raised in Geneva, Switzerland, by his American mother and Swiss father. Between 1977 and 1980, Marclay studied at the École Supérieure d'Art Visuel in Geneva; at the same time, he studied sculpture at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. In 1978, he studied as a visiting scholar at the Cooper Union in New York.
Marclay expresses himself through Performance Art, sound, sculpture, and collage. He combines his love for music with his love for secondhand objects by molding these familiar things into unfamiliar ones. He was one of the first artists to bend and form sounds with a turntable to create new pieces. Previously, artists had linked songs together. Marclay has created unique and unexpected compositions since 1979, when he produced his Theatre of Found Sound
. He developed an interest in punk rock and Performance Art while studying in Boston. The artist started singing and using mix tapes while performing with the other half of his musical duo, Kurt Hendry. Their lack of a drummer inspired Marclay to produce audio rhythm tracks that were accompanied by video rhythm tracks composed of cartoons or sex films on a loop. Marclay organized a festival in 1980 called Eventworks, where he explored the influence of rock music. He has also collaborated musically with Fred Frith, Zeena Parkins, Shelley Hirsh, Otomo Yoshihide, Arto Lindsay, and Sonic Youth, among others.
Marclay uses his skills as a DJ and filmmaker to produce installations
as well as film
and video collages. These works have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain in Geneva, the Cité de la Musique in Paris, the Barbican Art Gallery in London, the Seattle Art Museum, the Centre Pompidou Paris, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Kunsthaus Zürich. One of his earliest pieces is Recycled Records
(1980–1986), for which he reassembled record fragments into objects that distorted tone and sound; these objects could be played. His Body Mix
series merged album covers together to produce postmodern critiques of visual and music culture. One of the key threads of Marclay's work is his morphing of musical objects into commentary about culture.
One of his most hypnotic pieces is The Clock
, which opened in London in 2012. The concept was straightforward and the work herculean: to splice together film scenes displaying clocks into a full 24-hour piece. This work earned the artist a Golden Lion award for best artwork in the main exhibition at the 54th Venice Biennale. Marclay continues to deconstruct records into sounds and theories revolving around music and culture. He currently lives in New York, and is represented by the White Cube Gallery