In Looking for Love, the needle of a record player is raised and dropped again and again, searching for the moment in assorted songs when the word “love” is heard. Marclay filmed his performance with a tiny camera used in surgical operations and captures, in sharp detail, his attempts to “look for love” on the record.
Over the past 30 years, Marclay has explored the fusion of fine art and audio cultures, transforming sounds and music into a visible, physical form through performance, collage, sculpture, installation, photography and video. In the 1970s, the Swiss-American artist pioneered the use of turntables and records as musical instruments, operating independently of but parallel to hip hop. His many works with vinyl include Recycled Records (1980-86), collages of broken and re-assembled vinyl records still playable on the turntable.
He is probably best known for his 2010 installation, The Clock, a cinematic tour-de-force that unfolds on the screen in real time through thousands of film excerpts that form a 24-hour montage.
As in Christian Marclay’s many other works with vinyl, Looking for Love also captures the idiosyncratic qualities of analogue sound like hisses, glitches, skips and scratches.
“People who care about records are always giving me a hard time,” Marclay says. “I mean, I would destroy records in performances, and break them, and whatever I could do to them to create a sound that was something else than just the sound that was in the groove.”
For Marclay, vinyl is not about preserving sounds for posterity, a poignant contrast with Brighton Rock where the recording booth became a confessional and the Record Your Own Voice machine reminded Pinkie of fingerprints. Ultimately of course it is Pinkie’s attempt to destroy the record that causes its own glitch and the repetition of “love” in the film’s famous conclusion.
See the exhibition at University of Brighton North Gallery 11 November – 9 December 2017.
Monday – Friday: 11am – 7pm
Saturday: 10am – 4pm