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‘It became a nightmare’: artist Christian Marclay on global smash The Clock – and his new work Doors

His 24-hour clock made of movie clips was a sensation. Can Doors, a montage of screen stars entering and leaving rooms, beat it? The artist reveals how lockdown and our new age of anxiety pushed him to finish it

John Wayne, looking great in a battered old Stetson, emerges through a door on to a wood-panelled landing. The iconic screen cowboy looks cautiously around before pushing another door, which is opened by a young Brigitte Bardot. The French star barely has time to say “Oh, pardon” before she disappears back through the door, only to be replaced by a grizzled butler figure. With a palpably sinister sense of purpose, he walks across a small room towards a black and white door – from which he emerges, having been transformed into a full-colour Antonio Banderas, bristling with sensitive intent as he approaches yet another door, with classical strings piling on the emotion for the full eight seconds he’s on screen.

“There’s so much symbolism attached to a door,” says Christian Marclay. “Why would you want to show it – if not to create an element of surprise, change or suspense?” Marclay, a Swiss-American artist based in London, is talking about his new video work, Doors, a stream of joined-together film clips in which actors walk through, well, doors.

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