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Selected Works

Sarah Morris, Rio, 2012, HD Digital, 88:33 mins. © Sarah Morris.

Sarah Morris, Rio, 2012, HD Digital, 88:33 mins. © Sarah Morris.

Press Release

The Zentrum Paul Klee is showing the most comprehensive retrospective of the American artist Sarah Morris (b. 1967) to date in Switzerland. The exhibition features over a hundred artworks – including paintings, drawings, film posters, and immersive film installations – which foreground the past thirty years of the artist’s groundbreaking work.

Morris is known for her paintings of vivid geometries which form new understandings of networks, systems, economies and architectures. Through her use of both reality and abstraction, Morris creates a new language of place and politics. She sees her paintings as self-generating, open to interpretation, motion and change, giving the viewer a heightened sense that they are part of a larger system.

Morris draws from the Modernist tradition through her abstract paintings and experimental films while examining the macro and microstructures of the contemporary world. Creating a virtual architecture and language of forms, the work incorporates a wide array of subjects, ranging from multinational corporations, architecture, generic stem cell technology, Academy Awards, the Olympics, transportation networks, mapping, lunar cycles, museums, printing presses, factories of all types, fashion, and post systems, to name just a few.

In her paintings, Morris draws from the pictorial language of post-war pop art, American minimalism, and ‘Op Art’. She is interested in the systems that run through social, political and economic life: from the architecture of big business to digital infrastructure, and the power of the media. Politics and the economies are represented through advertising and spectacle in her works. While her paintings might appear abstract, the surfaces of specific places or companies are discernible within them.

Morris’ films, like her paintings, explore the psycho-geography and dynamic nature of cities in flux through fragmented narratives. The artist filmed “Los Angeles” during the Academy Awards, “Rio” during Carnival, and “Beijing” during the 2008 Olympics, alongside moments of mundanity. The situations the artist places herself and the viewers within reflect the hierarchies we inhabit. Uniquely playing with the contradiction of our complicity with structures both macro and micro, Morris is considered one of the most intriguing artists of her generation.

The exhibition title recalls the current widespread pessimism about culture and progress, the failure of political and social structures and anxieties about the future. In a present moment marked by rapid change, Morris critiques and simultaneously engages with the systems represented in her paintings and films.


About Sarah Morris

Sarah Morris, born in 1967, is an American artist living and working in New York. Her work has been shown in numerous solo exhibitions in international museums including Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong (2024); M+, Hong Kong (2024); Kunstmuseen Krefeld (2023); Espace Louis Vuitton Munich (2023); the Deichtorhallen Hamburg (2023); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, (2018); Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Espoo (2017); Kunsthalle Wien, (2016); M Museum, Leuven (2015); Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2014); Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen (2013); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2012); Musée National Fernand Léger, Biot (2012); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2009); Museo d‘Arte Moderna di Bologna (2009); Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel (2008); Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2006);Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2005); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2005); Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2005); Miami MOCA (2002); Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D. C. (2002); Nationalgalerie at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2001); Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (2000); Kunsthalle Zurich (2000); Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Lepizig (2000); Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1999) and Centre D’Art Contemporain, Dijon (1998).