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Christian Marclay

Memento (Hüsker Dü), 2008
130.8 x 248.3 cm
During his exploration of visual and sound cultures, Christian Marclay regularly turns to photography, a medium that figures constantly in his art practice. Whether employing photos shot by strangers and picked up at flea markets, or taking snapshots himself, Marclay is building up an inexhaustible archive of images that present some connection with sound.

He is also interested in old, rarely used photographic techniques like the photogram and cyanotype. These direct processes of reproduction, which expose the object to light without any intermediary (the shape and shadows of the object imprinting themselves on the photosensitive paper with varying degrees of density), were developed in the 1840s and sparked renewed interest in the 1920s thanks to Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy. Marclay has reappropriated these obsolete techniques in order to set down images of sound-recording supports like vinyl records and audio tape that are themselves on the verge of disappearing. He thus captures the vulnerability of a medium with a process that is only slightly less fragile in the end since it, too, will fall out of use one day.

In Memento (Hüsker Dü), the magnetic tapes of different cassettes were printed in negative on the cyan blue background that is characteristic of the cyanotype photographic process. These traceries of transparent threads dance about the image, figuring a visual interpretation of music, and the serpentine form of the tapes adds a festive aspect to the whole whilst conjuring up a drip painting. The title here refers to the punk-rock band of the same name and means “do you remember? in Norwegian, which echoes Marclay’s formal interests and his idea of expressing passing time.
Christian Marclay, Memento (Hüsker Dü), 2008