10441 - 20170108 - Kunsthalle Wien opens exhibition of paintings and films by Sarah Morris - Vienna - 08.12.2016-08.01.2017


Installation view: Sarah Morris. Falls Never Breaks, Kunsthalle Wien 2016, Photo: Jorit Aust.
Sarah Morris’ paintings and films contain elements that complement and connect to one another, generating a constant back-and-forth play between the two. In her paintings, she uses colors and geometries that she associates with a city’s unique aesthetic vocabulary and palette, as well as its character and multiple histories. Within the framework, Morris’ work plays with social and bureaucratic typologies to implicate occluded systems of control. In her films President Bill Clinton, Chase Bank, Philip Johnson, Robert Towne, the film industry, poster design, the Olympics, the banking system, Oscar Niemeyer, J.G. Ballard, perfume, lunar cycles, pharmaceutical packaging, birdcages and even fruit are all fair game.
Known for her distinct use of color, Morris streamlines a way of perception as much as a virtual architecture, which is suggested through her titling. In Bettina Funcke’s words: “She wants to be both author and protagonist, and to her that means using compromised personalities and places as portals into entanglements of power, generating a sense of dizzying simultaneity that she translates into motives and resources for her paintings and a flow of images for her films, all of which add up to topologies of a moment in the life of power and style.”

Strange Magic (2014), Morris’ recent film examines the production of desire and luxury. Originally commissioned by the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, it depicts France’s connection to the production of luxury goods by way of the new Frank Gehry designed museum in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. The film is a treatment of the role of fantasy as much as the commodity form or the architect. Morris filmed at multiple sites: the Eiffel Tower, Bois de Boulogne, Frank Gehry’s studio in Los Angeles, the Dior perfume factory, Veuve Clicquot, as well as other sites of production. In Strange Magic an alchemical mix of materials as grapes, flowers, leather, cloth, girls, pigment, steel, wood, and glass are distilled to create the substance that forms the idea of luxury. Morris portrays the French context for the production of luxury. Strange Magic depicts states of contradiction. The artist refers to the film as a “capitalist poetry”.

Morris states, “It all comes down to production. The production of space, the production of brands, the production of art. The production of dreams and desire, paradoxically intangible at the end of the day. These dissonant zones, a Venn diagram which usually exists on paper only, can momentarily coincide, conflate and then distance again.”

Sarah Morris lives and works in New York. She has been exhibited internationally including solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1999); Kunsthalle Zürich, Zurich (2000); Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2001); Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen (2004); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2005); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2005); Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2005); Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2006); Fondation Beyeler (2008); Lenbachhaus, Munich (2008); MAMbo, Bologna (2009); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2009); K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (2010); Wexner Center for the Arts (2012); Kunsthalle Bremen (2013); and M Museum Leuven (2015).

Works by the artist are held by the following collecting institutions, including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Tate Modern, London.

Curator: Nicolaus Schafhausen