Cory Arcangel interprets Bach Goldberg Variation No.1

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blog entry by Katy Diamond Hamer

In his first ever solo exhibition in Berlin, New York based multi-media artist Cory Arcangel; Here Comes Everybody is currently on view at the Hamburger Bahnhof museum in Berlin until August 28th, 2011. Cory is also participating in an exhibit at The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and has a growing international presence within the contemporary art/video community.

The exhibition was put into works on the occasion of a video installation that was recently been given to the permanent collection of the Nationalgalerie. Titled, “a couple thousand short films about Glenn Gould from 2007“, the piece is a dual channel video compiled of over 1100 clips taken from Youtube, and edited to make a version of Variation No. 1 from the Goldberg Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach. The images move rapidly, simultaneously projected in large scale format onto screens and each clip provides only one note. What Cory has done is utilize the contemporary human desire to be observed performing and in a double entendre has composed his own performative gesture. The ego of the Youtube participant is fed by the thought that he or she may be observed anywhere in the world due to internet exposure. The act of recreating a classical composition by Bach, in this case using various instruments and clips, carries within itself a certain level of panache as once again digested material is regurgitated to become a composition of compositions.

Cory Arcangel, “a couple thousand short films about Glenn Gould from 2007” (video stills), photo by Clare Ros

Another smaller scale piece immediately to the right upon entering the exhibition is in similar vain, as it utilizes assembled clips from the internet to make a music video of a composition by Arnold Schönberg. The stars of this particular video happen to be cats, meowing and caught walking on piano keys. Both works have a sense of humor but also speak very specifically to our present condition. For years Cory Arcangel has tapped into the nuances of pop culture within the American and now Global Community. His skill to hack into game consoles (such as Nintendo and Sega) and recreate familiar visual elements by also changing the intention of their function, lends itself to to a body of work that is both aesthetically appealing and necessary as a contemporary historical notion. His work not only references the recent past, but also documents a particular time and culture that lends itself as documentation to those in the future who will look back at our current society and technology, all soon to be outdated.


Additional Information

Cory Arcangel’s Internet Portal Website and Portfolio:

Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart
Here Comes Everybody
November 30, 2010 – August 28, 2011
Invalidenstraße 50-51
10557 Berlin, Germany
(click here for map)


Blog entry by Katy Diamond Hamer in Berlin; Thursday, July 21, 2011.

Katy Diamond Hamer is an art blogger and artist based in Brooklyn, New York and currently in Berlin to document the contemporary art scene. Stay tuned for more posts on Berlin Art Link coming soon!

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