Tagsmart Weekly Discovery: Susan Morris: on Displaced or ‘Anti- Portaiture’

Susan Morris is a British artist born in Birmingham, Uk. She currently lives and works in London. Susan studied MA at Goldsmiths’ College and wrote a Ph.D. entitled On the Blank: Photography, Writing, Drawing at Central St Martins, UAL (2007). 


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Susan’s fascinating work reflects aspects of selfhood that we cannot always fully control. Her Motion Capture Drawings, for example, reveal the involuntary movements that happen alongside intended gestures or actions, thereby making visible a kind of body unconscious. 

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These artworks are produced in a motion capture studio. Here Morris, wearing sensors on various parts of her body (the hands, elbows, knees etc), is recorded while making a set of pre-planned, repetitive drawings. The data gathered is converted by algorithms into lines that trace the automatic or involuntary movements of the body. Output as large inkjet prints, they have been described as a form of displaced self-portraiture or ‘anti-portraiture’. Other work uses scientific-medical devices worn on the wrist to reveal a body embedded in clock and calendrical time, but which nevertheless often goes its own, unruly, way.


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In 2010 she was awarded a Wellcome Trust grant to make new work for the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK. This developed into a large series of large tapestries woven directly from data tracking her sleep/wake patterns over a period of five years, which formed the major part of her solo exhibition Self Moderation at Kunsthaus PasquArt, Switzerland (2016).

Current exhibition: INTUITION, until the 26th of November 2017 at Palazzo Fortuny, Venice (Italy) and IN FOR EVER: ARCHIVE STRATEGIES IN ART at at Kunstraum Alexander Bürkle, Freiburg (Germany), until 25th of February 2018.

Upcoming exhibition: THE BRAIN CLOSER THAN THE EYE from the 22nd of February 2018 until the 5th of May at Bartha Contemporary London.