senses and sensibility

a delightfully disorienting art exhibit that will change the way you see sound
January 30, 2015  |   column: DELIBERATE POLISH


the five senses seem pretty straightforward. smell: perfume, please. sound: laughter, music, waves on a beach. touch: cashmere. (and so on.)

but take a peek at the christian marclay exhibition currently showing at white cube gallery in london, and the familiar lines between those senses will become fantastically blurry.

in the exhibition, which opened this week, the california-born, london- and new york-based artist—the same artist behind the groundbreaking 24-hour video work, the clock—attempts to document the relationship between image and sound. he begins with an exploration of onomatopoeia—comic book sound effects like “smak,” “squish” and “pop ”—capturing them both statically, in pop art-inspired paintings and on video, in a four-wall projection where the “whoosh” and “zoom” speed across the walls.

 then, every weekend, musicians from london sinfonietta, a contemporary classical music ensemble, perform in a room scattered with glasses, vases and other vessels. each vessel is fitted with its own microphone, which amplifies unique and untraditional reverberations and feedback. in harmony with the cello, violin, clarinet and other instruments, the result is richly layered, mind-bending and completely unpredictable.

to further drive home the art of sound concept, the vinyl factory—an independent british music record label, vinyl pressing plant, record shop and music magazine—is on site with a mobile version of their unique hydraulic vinyl pressing machine, processing and producing vinyl records of these live performances to buy.

 a true sensory overload.

through april 12 at white cube bermondsey, 144-152 bermondsey street, london, england.

image courtesy of white cube gallery.

Filed under: deliberate polish