In his first ever solo exhibition in Berlin, New York based multi-media artist Cory Arcangel; Here Comes Everybody is on view at the Hamburger Bahnhof museum in Berlin until August 28th, 2011. I made my way to the exhibit while in Berlin and even nursing a hangover, (Oh you German beer!) looked forward to seeing recent work of an artist who I’ve followed for years in what was another New York crossover while in Germany.
The exhibition was put into works on the occasion of a video installation which has been gifted to the Nationalgalerie. Titled, a couple thousand short films about Glenn Gould from 2007 it 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 on the 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 historical, classical composition by Bach in this case using various instruments, carries within itself a certain level of panache and once again the digested material is regurgitated to become a composition of compositions.
The installation image shown at top is much smaller scale, but carries a similar vain, as it uses assembled clips from the internet to make a music video of a piece 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, American and now Global Communities. His skill to hack into game consoles and recreate familiar 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 historical blip that will give hint to those in the future what all this was like…once it’s past.