Christian Marclay, American; Swiss, Cascade, 1989, Magnetic tape; 294.6 x 68.6 cm (116 x 27 inches) Variable, depends on the height of the installation., Mary B. Jackson Fund 2006.2
Encompassing sculpture, performance, and video, Christian Marclay’s work is distinguished by its focus on sound and music. He often uses physical objects related to sound as the building blocks of his sculptures. In Cascade, he unspooled yards and yards of reel-to-reel audiotape and gathered it into a knotted mass to be suspended from the ceiling. This tape was manufactured to record and play back sound, but in destroying its functionality to make this sculpture Marclay called attention to the physical beauty of the electromagnetic material. The thin, delicate strands shift slightly with any air current. The warm brown surfaces shimmer and glisten, spilling like a waterfall to the floor. The fact that this is audiotape also invites metaphorical readings, as if Marclay has given sound a concrete visible shape.