Christian Marclay - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Friday, November 14, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    White Cube, London

  • Catalogue Essay

    “In a way I think that when appropriation hit the art world, it was also very strong in the music world because of hip hop. That parallel interested me. Richard Prince and GrandMaster Flash were doing the same thing in the early eighties, but with different media.” Christian Marclay, 1992

    Christian Marclay is an artist and composer celebrated for his unique fusion of sound and image. Renowned for his unprecedented exploration of turntables and records in the late 1970s, Marclay’s kaleidoscopic practice which is collage on a grandiose scale, melding music, performance, appropriation – of both sounds and imagery, distortion, technology, and even time has cemented his reputation as one of the most cutting edge and insightful artists of his time.

    Just Take My Body from 1991 is an excellent example of how his early interest in musical experimentation ultimately also found an outlet in a visual medium. Having already worked with cutting and pasting actual vinyl records together into Franken-albums of intentionally cacophonous noise in order to create new aural realities out of previously existing ones, Marclay moved into addressing how it was that the albums covers themselves, and their decoration, addressed the viewer and broke down the relationships between physical and mechanical, seductive and repulsive, digital and analogue. Here, Marclay has cut and rearranged three album covers into one discombobulating, yet unified, new whole. A balding older gentleman conductor’s torso directs the orchestra (and directly confronts the viewer in the classic baton-waving gesture), while a scantily clad red-suited pelvis rests atop a pair of black-heeled legs which disconcertingly face the opposite direction as the rest of the body. Literally cutting across musical genres, gender, and even physical directionality, Marclay alters the viewer’s understanding of a certain reality. He gives meaning and import to that which in lesser hands would be no more than some cock-eyed perversion. As he himself states: “Change is the creative impulse. […]with these new Body Mixes, I combine several record covers in order to underscore that which we take for granted. The seductive covers are mutated into grotesque creatures.[…] I am also interested in a relation between the physical and the mechanical. We have always tried to give objects a human quality. We project on them a body scale, a texture, shape that resemble us. We give machines — or see in them — anthropomorphic qualities. The machine is an extension of the human body and the record is a mechanical object.” (C. Marclay interviewed by J. Seliger, Journal of Contemporary Art, 1992, pp. 64-76)

    The Body Mix series established Marclay’s bona fides as a visual, as well as musical, artist. Truly, the only constant in his practice may be its innumerable influences and manifestations across nearly all disciplines from film, music, collage, photography, and more. Just Take My Body, as an exemplar of this seminal early series, can itself be seen as one more integral component of the overall creative collage that is Marclay’s oeuvre.


Just Take My Body (Body Mix Series)

album covers, thread
26 x 17 1/4 in. (66 x 43.8 cm)
Signed and dated "Christian Marclay 1991" on the reverse of one of the album elements.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $106,250

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Kate Bryan
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New York
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Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 14 November 2014 11am