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Claire Morgan

Claire Morgan
Claire Morgan
Galerie Karsten Greve AG St. Moritz

Recurring Truths
February 10 - March 31, 2018
Opening: Saturday, February 10, 2018, 6 - 8 p.m.
in presence of the artist
A visual artist of Irish origin, Claire Morgan is one of the most sought after and talented artists on the international scene today. The exhibition unveils the artist’s works, fuelled by environmental and ethical concerns. Aside from suspended installations predominated by the dynamics between the bodies of taxidermy animals that seem to be contained within synthetic or alien environments, new compositions are displayed in vitrines. A corpus of delicate sketches also permits us to discover the artist’s meticulous creative work juxtaposed with the ardent and instinctive impetus of a surprising series of large-scale canvases.
Claire Morgan’s work explores the ambivalence in the human being’s relationship with the natural world that surrounds him/her. The artist’s reflections on the human presence in the world, which has resulted in the progressive destruction of our natural environment, are externalised in her installations using taxidermy animals that appear to be inhabiting and adapting to a world of superficial post-consumer waste that engulfs them. In the suspended temporality that defines these aerial sculptures, in which bodies are immobilised in a state of perpetual motion, this conflict plays out between life and death; between the organic and the artificial.
It was contemplations about the power of nature, as well as an exploration of the self, ego and mortality, that permeate Morgan´s works. The vastness of the sea, wild forests and the night all manifest as an abyss or the fear of the unknown, a subject meditated upon until it has become rather a metaphor for life itself, and reveals the vulnerability of humankind. This thought process does indeed take into account the on-going tragic events that we see on a near-daily basis. From the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean where, for thousands of migrants, the sea can move from vector of hope to tomb; to the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower where people saw their homes transformed into a hellish vision; to the increasing occurrence of extreme weather that surely predicts environmental and humanitarian catastrophe.
The works also symbolise the artist’s private battles, attesting to her awareness of her own passions. For Claire Morgan, the will that each one of us has to exist is strongly linked to both the passion and violence that we use to express our primal needs. This struggle, be it physical or psychological, is part of our private landscape and it engenders contradictions in our consciousness. These concerns have guided the way the exhibition is organised, unfolding accordingly in specific pairs of ideas: the self and violence; the passage of time and transcendence; the fear of darkness and drowning; fire and death.
The very principle of taxidermy, which Claire Morgan carries out with her own hands, lies in the contradictory act of striving to give the appearance of life to something that is dead. This ambivalence is a characteristic of all of her work: in her drawings, as in her paintings, the residue of the taxidermy procedure itself becomes material for graphic expression. Elements such as bones and bodily fluids, and, for the first time, animals, are integrated into the works, whilst affording them a symbolic, ritualistic quality.
In this artist’s work, nature stupefies: perfect in its immobility. The ambiguous vital presence of these taxidermy animals contrasts the fragile geometry that this “assembling virtuosa” creates with the help of nylon thread from which she hangs dandelion seeds or fragments of plastic. Claire Morgan’s world is a universe where nature, assaulted by the invasive and cynical presence of the modern human being, uses its ultimate beauty to resist. Incarnated in the perfection of geometric and minimalist scenarios, it is also in the fragility of structures so light that a mere gust of wind could make them disappear.
Claire Morgan has had solo exhibitions in Belfast, London and Paris and has taken part in numerous international group exhibitions, including in 2009 at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and in 2010 at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. In 2004 she received the Annual Bursary Award from the British Society of Sculptors and the Royal British Society’s Roy Noakes Award, and in 2006 she was awarded the Premio Fondazione Amaldo Pomodoro by the Fondazione Pomodoro in Milan.
In 2014-15 comprehensive exhibitions of her work have been shown at the Osthaus Museum, Hagen and at the Stadtmuseum Jena, followed by Kunststation St. Peter in Cologne and Het Nordbrabants Museum in S´Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. A first solo show in the United States took place in 2017 in FRIST Center, Nashville, Tennessee.

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