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Indepth Arts News:

"Sarah Morris: Artist in Focus IFFR"
2006-01-26 until 2006-02-26
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Rotterdam, , NL Netherlands

American artist Sarah Morris (1967) is this year’s 'Artist in Focus' at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Morris is best know for her hard and glossy, geometrically abstract paintings. From 26 January through to 26 February 2006, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will be featuring her paintings as well as the films she made. Morris’ paintings refer to façades, atria and lobbies of modern office buildings and hotels. At the same time Morris has been working on an oeuvre of films featuring the same modern urban characters. Films without a narrative structure, but made of similar images of façades, hotel lobbies and electronic billboards. Morris takes an interest in the meanings hidden below the seemingly neutral, artificial surface of the constructed environment.

Seductive and inviting To Morris, making films and making paintings are two sides of the same coin. She is using both media to hold the codes of the urban environment, and the communication strategies behind them, up against the light. Her film AM/PM (1999) shows Las Vegas and the manner in which visitors are submerged in an entirely controlled artificial reality. A seductive and inviting reality focussed on spending huge amounts of cash in the shortest possible amount of time. More or less at the same time she creates a series of geometrically abstract paintings, based upon electronic billboards, advertisements and hotel façades. Paintings in glossy industrial enamel paint revealing their references to reality at a much later stage.

Capital, a film from 2001, is centred on buildings in Washington D.C. representing power, such as Capitol Hill, the White House, the Ministry of Defence and the home of the CIA. This is a way for Morris to show how political power is expressed in architecture. Her most recent film Los Angeles (2004) was shot in the days leading up to the annual Oscar presentations, and shows how the city that generates the major movies presents itself. In a series of paintings that runs parallel to this film, she refers for the first time to a number of buildings without these buildings being directly related to the paintings. Sarah Morris’ exploration of the urban environment offers the visitor not only a multitude of seductive city images, but at the same time tries to uncover part of the underlying meanings.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will be showing Morris' paintings as well as her films at the International Film Festival. Following Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Isaac Julien and Anri Sala, Sarah Morris is the fourth 'Artist in Focus' as part of the association between the IFFR and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Choosing an artist who is able to combine the seemingly incompatible media of painting and cinematography, shows the extent and topicality of ‘Exposing Cinema’.

Morris, Sarah
(with Neon)
Gloss household paint
on canvas
60 x 60 inches

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