Christian Marclay: Cyanotypes

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of cyanotype photograms by Christian Marclay, on view at 49 Geary Street, San Francisco, from September 8–October 29, 2011.

Over the past three decades, Christian Marclay has established himself as a formidable contemporary artist, exploring the rich juncture-points between the visual arts, film and mass-market musical culture. The photograms in this exhibition are made with music cassette tapes he physically disassembled. In some, the plastic cases form austere grids; in others, spools of unwound tapes have been strewn over the surface of the paper in loops and twists, recalling canvases by Twombly or Pollock. The titles of these works, including Allover (Dixie Chicks, Nat King Cole and Others) and Allover (LeVert, Barbara Streisand and Others), derive from the specific tapes used in making each image.

The cyanotype process dates to the dawn of photography and was developed by the English scientist Sir John Herschel in 1842. Utilizing a light-sensitive chemical mixture, these cyanotypes were created by placing objects directly onto the surface of paper coated with the mixture. The resulting blue photograms reveal a silhouetted image that varies in darkness due to the opacity of the objects.

Marclay’s artistic practice is grounded in the area between sight, sound, and all manner of recordings, whether visual or aural. His overall body of work spans sculpture, video, photography, music, performance and collage. His photograms reinvigorate two nearly-forgotten media: the cassette tapes of the 1970s and 80s and the cyanotypes of the 1840s.

The exhibition also includes continual screenings of Looking for Love, a 32-minute video work made in 2008.

Allover (Dixie Chicks, Nat King Cole and Others), 2009, cyanotype
Cassette Grid No. 13, 2009, cyanotype
Large Cassette Grid No.9, 2009, cyanotype