Strange Magic

  • 2014
  • Sarah Morris
  • Film on the architecture of Frank Gehry's building. Music score by Liam Gillick (Red Epic MX), colour, sound
  • 30 min.
Frank Gehry’s creative approach, the way his work develops and his methodology are viewed here in the institutional, urban and social context of this new museum. Morris pays close attention to details, colours and materials through a series of images – of the architect in his Los Angeles studio, workers on the construction site, the streets of Paris and the surroundings of the Bois de Boulogne. “The films for me are like an atlas, a manifesto of everything I am interested in: production, cities, creating situations, politics, the psycho-geology of the map, spectacle and, of course, colour. For instance, Gehry’s foray into 3D computer programming and graphics plays a part in the work; it is like an abstract landscape, much like painting. Likewise, my paintings are virtual space, a virtual architecture. This film explores a sort of layering, a pileup of social forms, dreams and processes. I am interested in how images of seduction are communicated and how they are designed. What I want to convey is that this building is not graspable and representable in one idea. It is an allusion, something that is moving that you cannot pinpoint. This is the intrigue that I follow. Gehry also remains elusive. This is his power,” explains Morris.

© Parallax. Photographie © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage


Sarah Morris

Since the end of the 1990s, Sarah Morris has been developing a dual vision of urban spaces and architecture through her paintings and films, forming a body of work that reflects hyper-modernity. Morris’ films are set in specific social and urban contexts, focusing on well-known places.

The formality of the composition, framing, colours and visual dynamic are accentuated by the music of artist Liam Gillick. “The images in my films always play with concepts of the spectacle, of the commodity, of political power or power at large. The images use and play with a vocabulary of propaganda, so in a way the music becomes sutured to the image,” explains the artist. “As in all my films, the music is written by Liam Gillick and is not composed for the images. What Liam creates are units of music, a series of modalities autonomous from the images in their production. Improvisation is at play on many levels. Sometimes the music goes against the image and sometimes it goes with the image. This is up to me. It works like modalities in psychology. It is sort of an alchemy. There is an aspect of quotation in my films, like out-takes of a political unconscious of forms. In a way the images are already familiar to you even if you have never seen them like this before,” continues Morris.

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