Being alive can be beautiful and horrific. My practice is the way I explore what that means for me.
I am acutely aware of the physical merging between myself and the world – the constant osmosis that occurs between me and ‘it’, with particles of air, fluids, matter, moving from one to the other, in and out, back and forth, continuously. Every living thing is in this state of constant transition. I am intrigued by those simultaneous senses of spiritual communion and unpalatable intrusion that come about through awareness of our connectedness, and of our vulnerability.
My practice has been focussed on how we humans understand and interact with the rest of the natural world, and our unwillingness to acknowledge our absolute lack of autonomy or control. I look at humans as animals, and the complexity of our intellectual dislocation from the landscape that sustains us. We behave as individual entities with fixed identities, but the reality is less clear. The me that I was a few days ago no longer exists.
Labour and repetition have been important tools for me. I discovered that I could use incredibly fragile materials to create the illusion of precise geometric structures. Any event might destroy these structures. As the potential for destruction seems closer, the senses of frailty and futility become more powerful, and there is a particular beauty in that moment. More recently I have started to unpick where these obsessions of mine originate. I am continuously drawn to personal and collective memories of trauma and loss.
I want to reach what is hidden beneath the layers of synthetic contemporary culture, at the heart of our experience, as well as how we try to hide that, or, try to hide from it. At its core, my practice is an exploration of the human condition. It comes from somewhere deeply personal. I believe that if it did not, it would be bound to fail.
Claire Morgan was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and currently lives and works in Gateshead in the North East of England.
Claire has had solo exhibitions in museums and galleries across Europe and the US, and has participated in numerous group shows around the world.
After presenting suspended sculptures at Palais de Tokyo and Fiac! in 2009, Claire unveiled her first solo exhibition in France: Life. Blood., at Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris. Alongside the suspended sculptures she is best known for, this was the first time Claire exhibited the ‘blood drawings’ that have become an equally significant signature.
Exhibitions of note include the solo museum shows Stop Me Feeling (Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, US, 2017), The Sound of Silence (Het Noordbrabants Museum, NL, 2016), The Gathering Dusk (Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris, FR, 2015), Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.(touring: Osthaus Museum Hagen, DE, Stadtmuseum Jena, DE, Fondazione Fernet Branca, St. Louis, FR, 2014-2015), and group shows Monanism(MONA, Tasmania, AU, 2011), Bestes, Bestiaux, et Bestioles (Château d’Oiron, FR, 2011) and on&on (La Casa Encendida, Madrid, ES, 2010).
Books include The Slow Fire, with texts by Darren Ambrose and Stefanie Kreuzer, and Perpetually at the Centre, with texts by Lucia Pesapane and Claire Morgan, published by Galerie Karsten Greve in 2014 and 2017 respectively.
Sculptures, drawings and paintings are in numerous collections in Europe, the US, Australia and Asia, including MONA – Museum of Old and New Art, AU; Centre Pompidou, FR; Guerlain, FR; Emerige, FR; ALTANA Kulturstiftung, DE.