All Systems Fail
The Kunstmuseen Krefeld present the solo exhibition All Systems Fail, the most comprehensive exhibition of the American artist Sarah Morris to date (b. 1967, Sevenoaks, UK, lives in New York, USA). It surveys thirty years of her prolific practice. The retrospective is opening on October 15, 2023, at the iconic villas Haus Lange and Haus Esters by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and at the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum (KWM).
Since the 1990s, Morris has created an impressive oeuvre featuring paintings, drawings, films, sculptures and site-specific works. Through her use of both reality and vivid abstraction, Morris creates a new language of place and politics. The Kunstmuseen Krefeld’s Mies van der Rohe villas, a key site of modernist design, offer a unique iteration of the exhibition All Systems Fail.
The retrospective tour is organized by the Deichtorhallen Hamburg in collaboration with the Kunstmuseen Krefeld, the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, and the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. The exhibition was planned in close collaboration with the artist and her studio. Sarah Morris created a new wall painting (Society is Abstract, Culture is Concrete, 2023), designed especially for Haus Esters, and an exclusive silkscreen edition (Deviancy is the Essence [Sound Graph], 2023) for the Kunstmuseen Krefeld. Morris’s films in Cinemascope will be shown in installations at the KWM.
Director Katia Baudin explains, "It has long been our wish to invite Sarah Morris to show her works in Krefeld, because of her unique approach towards exploring the legacy of modernism, including the iconic architecture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It’s a pleasure that we now have the opportunity to show Sarah's work in collaboration with other internationally renowned art institutions".
Sarah Morris sees her paintings as self-generating, open to interpretation, motion and change, giving the viewer a heightened sense that they are part of a larger system. Creating a virtual architecture and language of forms, the work incorporates a wide array of subjects. Politics, power, and economy as well as advertising and entertainment are encoded into the aesthetics of her canvases.
In Morris’s films, a parallel practice to the paintings, the artist explores the psycho-geography and the dynamic nature of cities in flux through the multi-layered and fragmented narratives she captures. The situations the artist places herself and the viewers within reflect the hierarchies we inhabit. Uniquely playing with the contradiction of our complicity with structures both macro and micro, Morris is considered one of the most intriguing artists of her generation. Produced in New York, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, Abu Dhabi, and other metropolises, her films document and chart the impact of the commercial form, such as architectures, designs and products, on modern life in late capitalism.
As Sarah Morris states, “Mies van der Rohe created the image of American business.”
Morris’s work, a compendium of reflections on the city, media images, globalization, and power structures, resonates with Mies van der Rohe’s architectural vision for domestic modern life. While influenced by American Pop, Minimalism and Conceptualism, Morris’s graphic forms reference multinational corporations, architecture, generic stem cell technology, Academy Awards, the Olympics, transportation networks, mapping, lunar cycles, museums, printing presses, factories of all types, fashion and mail systems to name just a few.
Juliane Duft, the curator of All Systems Fail in Krefeld, explains: “In Krefeld, Sarah Morris’s work is a foil against Mies van der Rohe’s modernist dwellings, casting a new, surprising, and critical light. Morris is among the most significant artists in contemporary art when it comes to questioning the outcome of modernist ideals on life today.”
About Sarah Morris
Sarah Morris, born in 1967, is an American artist living and working in New York. Her work has been shown in numerous solo exhibitions in international museums including Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, (2018); Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Espoo (2017); Kunsthalle Wien, (2016); M Museum, Leuven (2015); Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2014); Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen (2013); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2012); Musée National Fernand Léger, Biot (2012); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2009); Museo d‘Arte Moderna di Bologna (2009); Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel (2008); Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2006); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2005); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2005); Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2005); Miami MOCA (2002); Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D. C. (2002); Nationalgalerie at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2001); Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (2000); Kunsthalle Zurich (2000); Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Lepizig (2000); Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1999) and Centre D’Art Contemporain, Dijon (1998).