Sarah Morris: Chicago / Points on a Line

Film program
8/1 2017 7 pm


On the occasion of the finissage on 8/1 2017 there is free admission to the exhibition, the guided tour and the filmscreening.

Introduction: Nicolaus Schafhausen

Chicago, 2011
Red Code/HD Digital, 68:21 min
© Sarah Morris, Courtesy White Cube

Chicago investigates the psychology, architecture and aesthetic of the American city made all the more resonant in the wake of President Obama’s administration. When Mies van der Rohe emigrated to American in 1938, with the help of Philip Johnson, and was established as the Head of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, he not only created an image of America, but the reality of the contemporary American society. Continuing to play with duality, Morris’s Chicago is tandem with Points on a Line, shifting the lens to a panorama of an American city in transition. In Chicago, Morris reveals a new cityscape by tracking its modern architecture, the seemingly dead printed world of publishing headquarted there, as well as its industrial role. A century after the publication of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, the issues shift from food production to consumption and a struggling printing, publishing and advertising world. Chicago captures the varied layers of a complex metropolis without verbal commentary or narration. It exploits the boundaries of documentary and fiction, and collides the city’s everyday moments with issues of social power and representation.

Points on a Line, 2010
Red Code/HD Digital, 35 min. 44 sec.
© Sarah Morris, Courtesy White Cube

The Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois and the Glass House, New Canaan, Connecticut. Philip Johnson and Mies van der Rohe. Curator and architect. Architect and architect. Points on a Line documents a shared desire to build structures that might change the way we think about a house, a form and a context. These two buildings were the result of shared ideas and collective desire. But they also complicate ideas of the copy and the original and the chronologies of Modernism.
The two buildings demonstrate a legacy of focus upon detail and surface – inside and outside. Capturing the tension of ego and authorship in precisely differering architectural statements. By carefully documenting the daily maintenance of these two buildings and lingering over the precise placement of the structures in space and of objects within each structure we are presented with a clear view of places that have gone beyond their initial modest use.
Morris’s deployment of cinematic codes in relation to architectural precision produces images that go beyond a record of functionality or the streamlining of needs. These are places that remain elusive despite their openness – structures that are open vessels where we search for markers of the corporate aesthetic to come and the legal wrangles that marked the struggle to complete and maintain them. Buildings that require constant representation and new documentation in order to recode and understand what came before and what came next. Obtaining complete unrestricted access for each location of the film, Morris has woven together art, architecture and corporate image production with flowers, the behavior of bees and the patterns of butterflies – window washing, cooking, power-broking and collecting.
Morris filmed at both sites over the course of several months, among other locations including The Four Seasons Restaurants, the Seagram Building, Mies van der Rohe’s infamous Lake Shore Drive, and Chicago’s Newberry Library.