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Sarah Morris at White Cube Bermondsey

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Sarah Morris at White Cube Bermondsey

We ended May with a bang at our latest sun-drenched pop-up in Vinegar Yard. Thanks to everyone who swung by over the Bank Holiday Weekend to say hello and see our new collection up close and personal. It's always a real pleasure to catch up with our creative community over some street food and a cheeky cider in the sunshine. 

We were so impressed with the new space at Vinegar Yard. It's basically an urban garden just behind London Bridge Station in South London, under the watchful eye of The Shard, with amazing street food, local beers, and a marvellous makers market. For London folk, or commuters like us who grab the train out of town from London Bridge, it's a great place to enjoy a balmy Summer's evening.

There's even a bonkers art installation by artist-in-residence , famous for his scrap-metal sculptures at Glastonbury Festival and collaborations with The Rolling Stones which is well worth a look.

Vinegar Yard Pop-Up Makers Market London Bridge

We snuck away from our stand for a couple of hours to head to White Cube Bermondsey and get inspired by the work of Kent-born, New York-based artist Sarah Morris in her latest eye-widening exhibition ‘Machines do not make us into Machines’.

Firstly, if you haven't been to White Cube Bermondsey before, it's one of our favourite gallery spaces in London. It's a really manageable size - you can pop in between meetings or with a pushchair, wander around the four rooms at leisure, and not leave feeling like you've missed half of it or that your mind is completely overloaded. It's the ideal spot for culture vultures who want to see powerful and engaging artworks in a really relaxed gallery space, and all for free.

Sarah Morris White Cube Bermondsey

The Building as a Pretext [Sound Graph] 2019 - Sarah Morris - White Cube Bermondsey

In this her first solo exhibition in the UK for six years, Sarah Morris is showing all new paintings, films, a site-specific wall painting and her first ever sculptural work. So a massively exciting showcase of pieces exploring her trademark obsessions with networks, typologies, architecture, language and the construct of the modern metropolis. If you often feel a little dwarfed by the big cities you find yourselves in and the bombardment of tech that comes your way on a daily basis, Morris' work will probably really speak to you.

The exhibition includes new work from her 'Sound Graphs' series, a series Morris started work on two years ago that maps audio recordings onto canvases, forming paintings of brightly coloured bars and dots.

In each powerfully precise piece, language becomes image, attesting to the impossibility of a painting ever really being truly abstract, and creating a colourful communication that speaks to our eyes and that we hear loud and clear.

The Building as a Pretext [Sound Graph] 2019 Sarah Morris White Cube Bermondsey

The Building as a Pretext [Sound Graph] 2019 - Sarah Morris - White Cube Bermondsey

For Morris, language is a construct. She's invented her own painted dialect which looks like a scrolling colourful computer code and sounds like a radical modern manifesto. She plays with phonetics and plots the coordinates. 

‘They’re static but the eye makes them move,’ Morris explains. And this movement is amplified perfectly by the reflection of her work in the smooth concrete floors of White Cube Bermondsey that they loom over, (actually obsessed with concrete floors but that's a whole other blog post).

War of Roses [Sound Graph] - Sarah Morris - White Cube Bermondsey

War of Roses [Sound Graph] - Sarah Morris - White Cube Bermondsey

Morris uses colour and shapes in her paintings to play with our sense of visual recognition. She incorporates various references we will be aware of both consciously and unconsciously, from the graphic identity of big corporations and the complex structure of urban transport systems, to the iconography of maps, GPS technology, as well as the continuous flow of people within towns and cities.

Morris sees her paintings as being part of a larger self-generating system, always remaining open and allowing for interpretation, motion and change. Each one is insightful, political and radical, looking both outwards and inwards at the same time and playing with our human relationships with the world we move around in.

Sarah Morris at The White Cube Bermondsey

What can be explained can also be predicted (2019) - Sarah Morris - White Cube Bermondsey

Our favourite piece in the exhibition was 'What can be explained can also be predicted (2019)'. The work is being heralded as Morris’ 'first sculpture' but she isn’t too sure about that label. 'I think of the paintings in a very physical way – they are not just colour, but geometry and lines. There is an edge that creates a physicality. They are dense and physical, like virtual space.'

So really maybe her network of modular, glass tubes of various heights and colours, arranged on a gridded marble plinth is just another of her paintings come to life and stepped away from the wall.

‘I wanted to make a cross between a musical instrument and an image of a future city, and it has a bit of The Wizard of Oz in it too’ she says.

Sarah Morris at The White Cube Bermondsey

What can be explained can also be predicted (2019) - Sarah Morris - White Cube Bermondsey

So much of Morris' work looks like it can't have been made by human hands but some form of self-generating technology or algorithmic output. You leave the exhibition with her grids, graphs and dots imprinted onto your mind and as you emerge from the gallery and into the bustling city, you see the work translated all around you into a universal language.

The exhibition runs until the end of June 2019, so if you find yourself in South London - do head on over and let us know what you think. 

Image Sources: (1) Sarah Morris, (2) Postcards Home, (3) Postcards Home, (4) White Cube Bermondsey, (5) Postcards Home, (6) Postcards Home, (7) Postcards Home

Copy Sources: (1) White Cube (2) Wallpaper Magazine

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