B.C. Binning Gallery
Alex Morrison's practice spans a variety of media in work that examines the relationships between urban and domestic space, memory and the struggle for subjective identity. In past work he has problematized his subcultural identification, less as biographical source than as conceptual framework, in order to antagonize notions of sentiment, responsibility and social authority.
His new work, Free Room, translates these themes into a three channel DVD work based, in part, on Lindsay Anderson's cult classic film, If of 1968. Liberally interpolating from the film's depiction of the claustrophobic relationship between alienated youths, Free Room is set in a single room where the characters discuss, joke and plot about sex, politics and death — the elements of a projected free life. In this room they are rid of received ideas, giving each other license to act out their projections of agency and independence. Using images clipped from a variety of magazines, the three characters map out a set of identifications and the means to deflate them; they appropriate images in order to domesticate their rhetorical force. The work seeks to illustrate this transitional point of experience, a plane of action that is divorced from both the compliance of childhood and the complex morality of independent choice.
Accompanying Free Room in the exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery will be a selection of silkscreen posters and drawings, together called Gesucht! (Wanted!). Similar in theme to not the actual apartment (2001), these works deal with idealized architectural space as lifestyle. Morrison has adopted the visual idiom of Berlin street posters to comment on the way people employ simple aesthetic codes to transmit complex personal and political aspirations. In all of this work, Morrison compares and contrasts motifs of individual freedom and social order, role play and authenticity, idealism and subversion.
Alex Morrison has exhibited both nationally and internationally, and had recently held the Berlin studio as part of the Canada Council’s residency program. He has recently exhibited Free Room at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin-Kreuzberg and the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle. A catalog on his work is being co-published by the Contemporary Art Gallery and Lukas & Sternberg Press.