Christian Marclay – Look Around

15 March 2019 – 15 May 2019
White Cube Mason’s Yard, London

Christian Marclay returns to leave his unmistakable marque on London’s White Cube Mason’s Yark this month with his second solo exhibition.

 The show seems to be inspired by the artist’s twisted installation masterpiece The Clock, a 24-hour looped screening with which I became literally obsessed for its entire duration at the Tate Modern in January 2019.

The present monograph at Mason’s Yard, though, does not allow one to savor the monumentality of the previous work.  Which is more than fair, considering the 100,000 dollars White Cube and Paula Cooper Gallery (New York) dished out for the precedent project.

Nevertheless, cinematography and the heavy contrast between reality and illusion still play the leading role. Entering the area — which is pretty much the basement of the gallery, descending a path that seems a bit Dantesque and a little princely (however enough of a dreamlike mirage) — I find waiting for me at the crossroads a completely dark, impenetrable room.   In the middle, there is only a screen.

22 strips for 22 films diligently follow one another horizontally.   Hundreds of cinematographic clips, cut from the bottom of the fragment, make a total of five and a half meters of a movie tower – a totem of films.   Subtitles — or as Marclay calls it, a ‘vertical poem’ — fascinates me for the impressiveness in the darkroom.  It literally projects me into hundreds of different films per minute.   Dialogues and subtitles are presented here and there without any sort of link that you could imagine has anything to do or has been recreated specifically for the real world. Intertwined like clips in a logical sense to create a sort of structural order, they seem to convey a code which becomes hard to decipher. Which is pretty mental.

Illusion becomes reality – a cinematographic one though – where the viewer takes on the responsibility for the interpretation. It feels a bit like sitting on a psychiatrists’ chair when evaluating one of those portraits with its grainy shapes. Or like playing child-like word-games that connect one-another by nexus and bond with your fav pal. It is materiality that hides the truth but leaves no room for imagination, or objective understanding (now I am tripping).

A hundred photographs on the first floor, near the main entrance to the gallery, portray the word “Look” which turns into the new main character and introduces the philosophical “meatloaf” on the second floor. It seems bland but I suddenly find myself connected into a short but emotional interval to reflection – how many times I do not stop and watch around me, or I reflect without looking first – or whenever I look without thinking. Unfortunately, the perception of space and time does not seem to find a connection in all possible worlds.


Look - Marclay