Alex Morrison

23 November–22 December 2007

Alex Morrison

Based in Van­cou­ver, Mor­ri­son is known inter­na­tion­al­ly for his works that, through their con­struc­tion, analyse both the self-con­scious stag­ing of sub­cul­ture and the strong capac­i­ty of genre to medi­ate past events.

In this exhi­bi­tion, Mor­ri­son assem­bled a series of new works that ref­er­ence the ambigu­ous sum­mit of acad­e­mia, social cri­tique, and archi­tec­tur­al van­guardism known as Simon Fras­er Uni­ver­si­ty in British Colum­bia, in order to back­light the con­ver­gence of cer­tain eco­nom­ic and cul­tur­al forces that have shaped the local and glob­al after­math of mod­ernism since 1965.

Deployed almost as film props or set pieces for the stag­ing of a dystopi­an movie, Morrison’s sculp­tures, ban­ners, draw­ings, paint­ing and video allude to real events and fig­ures but fab­ri­cate these into a kind of fic­tive counter-envi­ron­ment through which to assess the work­ing of his­to­ry. Pro­vi­sion­al Struc­ture (2007) is a faux-weath­ered, sculp­tur­al rep­re­sen­ta­tion of an SFU cam­pus fea­ture designed by archi­tect Arthur Erick­son which has changed from func­tion­ing as a soap­box podi­um for activists into being a sta­t­ic com­mem­o­ra­tive mon­u­ment. Morrison’s repli­cat­ed object pos­es ques­tions about how nar­ra­tive oper­ates to define or pla­cate com­mu­nal space and to eulo­gize the recent past.

Brand­ed in the university’s present slo­gan “Rad­i­cal… by design,” the ideals of inter­dis­ci­pli­nary free­dom and pro­gres­sive social reform that inspired the found­ing of SFU in 1965 are sat­i­rized in Morrison’s sculp­tur­al remod­el­ing of a six­ties car­i­ca­ture of aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom cam­paign­ers, Pro­pos­al for a New Mon­u­ment at Free­dom Square (2007). Ban­ners, draw­ings, and a large tri­an­gu­lar paint­ing enti­tled Pic­ture for a Glass Tow­er (New Dawn Ris­ing) by Mor­ri­son evoke the influ­ence of east­ern meta­physics on 1960s counter-cul­ture and con­trast prin­ci­ples of co-oper­a­tion, equal­i­ty and break­down of form against the arch-mod­ernism and for­mal­ized admin­is­tra­tion of the uni­ver­si­ty.

After forty years the oppo­si­tion­al force and polit­i­cal intent of the van­guardist ges­ture has been assim­i­lat­ed in var­i­ous ways. This exhi­bi­tion pro­posed a sce­nario where the trans­for­ma­tion of recent events and fig­ures into nar­ra­tivized gen­res and texts might be tem­porar­i­ly paused, inter­rupt­ing their his­tor­i­cal absorp­tion and reg­i­men­ta­tion in order to regard their present and actu­al social and cul­tur­al effects.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion or press enquires please con­tact Catri­ona Jef­fries or Anne Low at +1 604 736 1554.