REVIEW / DRAWINGS: The final weekend of Christian Marclay at White Cube

Christian Marclay at the turntables
on the final day of the White Cube Exhibition
Drawing by Geoff Winston. © 2015. All Rights Reserved 

Ryoji Ikeda, Elliott Sharp and Christian Marclay 
(White Cube gallery, Bermondsey, 11 and 12 April 2015; final weekend of Christian Marclay's exhibition programme; reviews and drawings by Geoff Winston)

To cap off the magnificent three-month series of improvised and commissioned pieces performed on weekend afternoons as part of Christian Marclay's exhibition at White Cube, Ryoji Ikeda, Elliott Sharp and, in an unscheduled final performance on the Sunday, Christian Marclay, each gave the exhibition's sounds of glass theme a unique interpretation.

Ryoji Ikeda filled the gallery with extreme, disorientating sound, Elliott Sharp and a London Sinfonietta quartet offered a lively, delicate, interpretation of his commissioned work, Glass Call, and Christian Marclay retrieved test pressings of the vinyl LPs of each of the concerts in the series to impose his own intense turntabling treatment in an emotional farewell to this exceptional series of music/sound events.

For Ikeda it was a case of less is more - with the most minimal of electronic devices on the work table he turned the gallery into a massive sound chamber packed with unnervingly clear and ultra amplified hums, thrums, signals and recordings of glass rolling, tinkling and crashing - as well as barely audible micro sounds layered in the background. The sound forces physically moved within the space, swirling from side to side with the heaviest barrage in the entire series, unavoidable and compelling.

Ryoji Ikeda performing on the final
weekend of the White Cube Exhibition
Drawing by Geoff Winston. © 2015. All Rights Reserved

Elliott Sharp revisited his composition, Glass Call (it had been premiered month earlier at the gallery), with a subtly balanced interaction, alongside Sharp's pre-recorded glass sounds track, from Sharp, on guitar, discreetly guiding the woodwind, string and percussion quartet through bowings, stretched notes, fiercely articulated bursts of vibrating energy and light lacunae of breaths and resonances to deliver a rounded and nicely open-ended performance.

Christian Marclay, in an inspired and personal gesture, chose to work with the raw material that had formed the substance of his curated programme, the vinyl records that had been manufactured by The Vinyl Factory in the gallery, from the live recordings of each concert. With just two turntables and much electronic licence he showed no mercy to the physical objects which he scraped, scratched and slung, twizzed and turned. Yet, he also showed the greatest of respect for the qualities of the sounds made by his commissioned performers by extracting, distorting, selecting on the fly, to construct a dauntingly percussive and hands-on, improvised response.

It was a 'thankyou', in a most personal way, to everybody who had contributed to the success of his visionary venture.

Cellist Zoe Martlew performing Glass Call
on the final weekend of the White Cube Exhibition
Drawing by Geoff Winston © 2015. All Rights Reserved

- Saturday afternoon improvisation, 11 April, 3pm - Riyoji Ikeda

- Sunday afternoon commissioned work, 12 April, 3pm
Elliott Sharp and London Sinfonietta, commissioned work, Glass Call
Elliott Sharp (electric guitar) London Sinfonietta - Scott Lygate (clarinet/bass clarinet); Daniel Pioro (violin); Zoe Martlew (cello); Oliver Lowe (percussion)

- Bonus improvisation, 12 April, 4pm Christian Marclay (turntables, electronics).

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