School of Arts & Humanities
Ivan Morison supervises Sculpture students in the School of Arts & Humanities at the Royal College of Art.
Ivan Morison has established an ambitious collaborative practice over the past decade that transcends the divisions between art, architecture and theatre.Show more
Ivan Morison, working with Heather Peak, makes art as an active engagement with materials, histories, sites and processes, producing sculpture, plays, photographs, installations and buildings, and site-specific projects internationally. Morison and Peak are known for their architectural structures that relate to ideas of escape, play, shelter and refuge, the transformation of the modern city, weight and levity, solidity and transparency; the construction of which are very often part of a broad community effort.
Heather and Ivan Morison have exhibited widely across UK, Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA. Key projects include: Sleepers Awake, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2014; All’s Well That Ends, Schauspielhaus Bochum, Germany; Smile All the While, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 2014; Shadow Curriculum, South London Gallery, London, 2014; Skirt of the Black Mouth, Tate Modern, London, 2012-15; Nuclear Family, National Theatre of Wales, 2013; Black Pleasure, Eastside Projects, Birmingham 2013; Anna, The Hepworth, Wakefield, 2012; Cave, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, 2012; Black Pig Lodge, Southbank Centre, London, 2011; Mr. Clevver, Contemporary Art Spaces Tasmania, Australia, 2011; Plaza, Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada, 2010; The Black Line Void, Derry, Northern Ireland, 2009; Black Cloud, Situations, Bristol, 2009; Journée des Barricades, One Day Sculpture, Wellington, New Zealand,2008; And So it Goes, representing Wales at the 52nd Venice Biennial, 2007.
Their book, Falling into Place, a fictionalized account of their large architectural shelter works, was published by Bookworks in 2009, and was made into an audio book by Palaver Press, New York in 2014. A new anthology of their work will be published in 2016 and is edited by Claire Doherty and Gavin Wade.
Morison’s central preoccupation has always been how we navigate catastrophe and the essential violence of change, from a wider social view to how individuals transcend moments of personal calamity.Show more
The works range across a diverse set of media and approaches which sees it manifest itself both within the gallery but also within wider physical and social arenas, from a nomadic theatre company to the creation of large-scale public spaces, explicitly engaging in the dialogue around redefining the limitations of where and how it is possible for artists to work
Studio Morison, a structure created to support and realise the work of Ivan Morison, Heather Peak and the people they work with, sets out in its statement of intent that:
'Artists now work in a vastly expanded field, transcending traditional divisions within the creative arts, acting in collaboration with many other areas of creativity, thought and commerce, often directly addressing major societal questions of our time.
We are living in times of great change in which opportunity and dignity are being stripped away from individuals and communities.
It is essential that we seize control of the forces of change to shape them into the future we want.
On a societal level STUDIO MORISON is working to re-establish aspects of civic life that governments and business now claim are no longer their responsibilities.
On a human level we look to bring meaning, beauty and purpose into everyday life.
As artists we support other artists, working together to affect more meaningful change.
STUDIO MORISON is concerned with creating a blueprint for happiness.'
Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes
Selected Solo Exhibitions and ProjectsShow more
Heart of Glass, St Helens (long term socially engaged project)
Super Slow Way, Burnley (long term socially engaged project)
LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! Berrington Hall, National Trust (commission and exhibition)
Childs Work, Briarwood School, commissioned by Bristol City Council through Arnolfini, (permanent commission)
Artists House, Ixia and Eastside Projects (permanent commission)
The Clearing, Forestry Commission at Kielder Water
Bronze House, Future Cities, Cambridge (permanent commission)
Cambridge Library (permanent commission)
LMOLMA, Public art Fund, New York (temporary commission)
Love Me or Leave Me Alone, Cardiff Bay, commissioned by Igloo and Chapter, Cardiff (permanent commission)
Sky Grey / Shell Pink, Koh Rong Samloen, Cambodia (permanent commission)
Script commission, Film Agency Wales
Lead artist, Blueprint for Happiness, Banff Centre, Canada
Lightening Tree, South London Gallery, London
All’s Well That Ends, Urbane Kunst Ruhr / Schauspielhaus Bochum, Bochum, Germany
Shadow Curriculum, commissioned by the South London Gallery, London (permanent commission for Highshore School)
Knives are Mothers, WORKS|PROJECTS, Bristol
Sleepers Awake, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Smile all the While, Whitechapel Gallery, London
Slyk Chaynjis, Diverse Works, Houston
Nuclear Family, commissioned by National Theatre of Wales (touring)
Black Pleasure, Eastside Projects, Birmingham
Cross and Cave, Queen Elizabeth II Park, London for LLDC (permanent commission)
Skirt of the Black Mouth, Tate Modern (Permanent commission)
Anna, The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield
Cave, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes (Permanent commission)
Little Shining Man, Dandara, St Helier, Jersey
Sleepers Awake, Artlands, Sittingbourne
Black Pig Lodge, The Southbank Centre, London
Black Cloud, The Hepworth, Wakefield
Mr. Clevver, Contemporary Art Spaces Tasmania, Tasmania
Consultant, Kielder Water, Cumbria, curated by Peter Sharp
Plaza, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver
Luna Park, commissioned by Chapter, Cardiff
An Unreachable Country. A Long Way to Go, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth
Frost King, Open Satellite, Seattle
Falling Into Place, published by Bookworks, London*
I hate her, I hate her, VOLTA NY, New York
The Black Cloud, Situations, Bristol, including the performance Black Dog Times
The Black Line, Void, Derry
How to Survive (The Bad Years), Clint Roenisch Gallery, Toronto
The Opposite of all those Things, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool
Selected Group Exhibitions
Inside Cities: Art and the Built Environment, Arup Exhibition Space, London
The Cleaving, Nuit Blanche, Toronto
Sceance Fiction, Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre, Canada
Cryropreservation, Syson Gallery, Nottingham
You Are Lost, N34 Kunst Route, Drenthe, The Netherlands and Kinsale Arts Festival, Ireland*
Puppet Show, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool and Gavle Konstcentrum, Sweden
I lost her near Fantasy Island. Life has not been the same, Night at the Museum, Moscow
In/Humano, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo De Monterrey, Mexico*
Plan For a Ruin, Islington Mill, Salford
Tipping Point, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton
Puppet Show, Eastside Projects, Birmingham
Cacotopia, Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester
Empire of Dirt, Radar, Loughborough
On the edge of the world, British Council, Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Carmarthen
The Narrative Show, Eastside Projects, Birmingham
As the World Turns, Anna Swartz Gallery, Sydney
Poste Restante, Artspeak, Vancouver
Poste Restante, Limoncello, London
The Crystal Palace (Destroyed), WORKS|PROJECTS, Bristol
The woods that see and hear, dertien hectare, ‘s-Hertogenbosch
We have the mirrors, we have the plans, Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno
On the edge of the world, British Council, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
Oasis, Bury St. Edmunds Art Gallery, Suffolk
Trying to Cope with Things that aren’t Human, David Cunningham Projects, San Francisco, Air Gallery, Stoke and Cell Project Space, London*
Mythologies, Haunch of Venison, London*
Flower Power, Villa Giulia, Centro Ricerca Arte Attuale, Turin
The Fields Sculpture Park, ART/OMI, New York State
Radical Nature, Barbican, London*
Of Vagrant Dwellers in the Houseless Woods, Or Gallery, Vancouver
Modern Nature, K3 Project Space, Zurich
Abstract Cabinet Show, Eastside Projects, Birmingham
Altered Sequence, E:vent Gallery, London
The Boundary Layer, The Prairie Art Gallery, Grande Prairie
Utopia and Monument, Steirischer Herbst, Graz
Tales of Space and Time, Contemporary Art Norwich09
Fantasy Island, Eastside Projects, Birmingham
Journée des barricades, One Day Sculpture, Wellington
Dragged Down into Lower Case, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Switzerland
The True Artist, Triangle France, Marseille, France
This Is The Gallery and The Gallery Is Many Things, Eastside Projects, Birmingham
Give Me Shelter, Attingham Park, Shrewsbury
Let’s pretend we’re from the future, Margate Rocks, Margate
Artfutures, Bloomberg Space, London
Force and Beauty, Galerie Yukiko Kawase, Paris
Tales in Space and Time, Folkestone Sculpture Triennale*
I am so sorry. Goodbye, Tatton Park Biennale, Tatton Park, Manchester*
Paraisos Indomitos / Untamed Paradises, Museum of Contemporary Art, Vigo, Spain and Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla, Spain*, York Art Gallery, York
* denotes an accompanying publication
- Joel Chan, Sarah Duyshart, Alla Malova, Hester Moriarity Thompson, Sam Gough-Yates, Sing Hang Tam, Youmee Hwang, Matthew Robertson, Yibei Zhang
Current and recent research
(Works Illustrated in 'Selected Work' Section)
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS, 2014
timber, steel, actors / 10x11x12m / Bochum, Germany
Commissioned by Urbane Künste Ruhr and Schauspielhaus Bochum
In the installation All’s Well That Ends theatrical moments are generated, a slowly developing improvisation unfolds, a psychological drama plays out, a slapstick comedy of donuts unravels, and a piece of absurd theatre is left. Thus is shown the emotional struggle of conciliating inner truths and public perception. Personal change becomes necessary in a situation of enforced transformation.
SHADOW CURRICULUM, 2012–5
Timber / 30x3x3m / Highshore School, London
How is the relationship between contemporary art and teaching practices currently framed? How can artists shape these relationships in new ways?Shadow Curriculum, a major commission as part of SLG Local, unfolded in several chapters over the course of two years. The work took the pupils on a journey through the art making process incorporating field trips, tree felling, carving, tarring, processions, stallions, flags, myth making, installation and celebration.
SLYK CHAYNJIS, 2013
Two actors / 9x12x15m / Diverse Works, Houston, USA
Slyk Chaynjis is an enigmatic tale about personal downfall and the subsequent reinvention of self, as told in six acts by a pair of unlikely traveling companions. Burdened by individual tragedies and personal failures, the characters are inextricably bound by their respective roles in a common trauma and in a shared quest for personal redemption.
Equal parts psychological drama, slapstick comedy, and absurdist theatre, Slyk Chaynjis charts a poignant struggle to reconcile internal truths with public perceptions, suggesting that descending into madness may be an unconscious act of survival.
THE SKIRT OF THE BLACK MOUTH, 2012/13
Timber, concrete / 100x4x20m / Tate Modern, LondonSkirt of the Black Mouth uses a sculptural element to deﬁne a new public space, while allowing glimpses of what lies behind. Characterised by a distinctively twisted arrangement of the wall, bench and path, it is a space stolen back from the Tate Modern Project construction site, dividing one world from another. Composed of light and dark, silences and shadows, contrasting materials and conﬂicting ideas, it will encourage visitors to begin to imagine what this space is, and what it might be in the future.
YOU ARE LOST, 2014
Timber / 4x1x35m / Kinsale, Ireland
YOU ARE LOST announced itself in flames. As a flotilla of boats took audiences out on the water, around the historic site, ten oak letters lit the night skyline at James Fort, a beacon to guide the boats home, to pass the news, to signal for help; a fire set deliberately, a celebration and an invasion of a Fort captured. The ashy ruins remained for the duration of the festival, as a message of hope; the dawn after dark days and symbol of new beginnings.
I’M SO SORRY. GOODBYE, 2008
Timber, acrylic, stove, guardian, other media / 5x6x10m / Tatton Park, Cheshire / Commissioned for Tatton Park Biennial and rebuilt for Radical Nature at the Barbican, LondonI am so sorry. Goodbye comprises two intersecting geodesic spheres, hand-built from wood harvested from naturally fallen trees in Tatton Park, and functions as shelter, observatory and performance space, where visitors are served hibiscus tea. The ‘escape vehicle’ unifies two acts, of making and use, in a way that can be read as a complex set of social rituals.
JOURNÉE DES BARRICADES, 2008
Various industrial and domestic items / 8x21x10m / Wellington, New Zealand / Commissioned by Litmus Research Initiative, Massey University for One Day SculptureCar wrecks, discarded furniture and other urban detritus barricaded a central city street. In its barricade form, the sculpture might suggest associations with the history of political actions and social unrest, but as a collection of discarded consumer products it may also bring to mind questions about our environmental and economic future. In stark contrast to the sculpture’s grandiosity is its temporality - installed overnight between dusk and dawn, the work was in situ for just 24 hours before ‘disappearing’ overnight.
BLACK CLOUD, 2009
Timber / 7x13x20m / Victoria Park, Bristol, UK / Commissioned by Situations, Bristol and rebuilt at The Hepworth WakefieldThe large-scale pavilion structure was erected through a community barn-raising in Victoria Park, Bristol. The structure acted as performance venue that gathered around it a growing temporary community and was open for park users, local residents, groups and organisations to carry out their own events for free. The Black Cloud has been repositioned and modified in response to the architectural and industrial backdrop of The Hepworth Wakefield.
Timber / 12x11x20m / Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite, West Georgia Street, Vancouver / Commissioned by Vancouver Art GalleryPlaza hovers between sculpture and architecture. Rising three stories high, the walls of the pavilion lean outwards towards the street as if they have been torqued in all directions by an extraordinary force. Plaza evokes a pivotal moment of architectural and societal transformation and metaphorically suggests that the mechanisms which underpin the modern city are far more fragile than we imagine. Its burnt surface and collapsing form infer a cautionary tale for the future, as well as an invocation to transform the modern city.
MR CLEVVER, 2010–13
Customised vehicles, fixtures, puppets, puppeteers / 3x2.5x12m /Tasmania, Australia / Commissioned by Contemporary Art Spaces Tasmania (CAST), Hobart, Tasmania
Toured by National Theatre of Wales, 2013Mr Clevver, a travelling sculptural artwork in the form of a puppet company, toured the less-travelled side roads of Tasmania. Word of mouth signalled the company’s arrival at rural settlements. A troupe of puppeteers performed puppet shows that blended factual recall with fiction, merging information into a narrative that built on the mythology of their own lives and also the lives of people they encountered.
LITTLE SHINING MAN, 2011
Carbon fibre, 3D printed joint system, Cuben fibre / 3x5.5x4.5m / Jersey,
Channel Islands / Documentary video length 3 minutes / Private commissionLittle Shining Man is a sculpture that has the potential for flight. The design of the structure is based around the tetra kites of Alexander Graham Bell, multiplied out into three colliding cubes. A double wing module has been duplicated and arranged into a tight cellular structural arrangement that appears as a heavy, un-flyable mass. The kite element flown in the image is one section of an arrangement of three, that come together to create the final piece of sculpture that is taken down to be flown once a year.
SLEEPERS AWAKE, 2011
Fabric, helium, light rig / 12x12x12m / Sittingbourne, Kent / Commissioned by Artlands for Swale Borough Council.
Also shown by Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2013As dusk falls the illuminated elliptical balloon form of Sleepers Awake appears low in the sky, far off in the estuary at the mouth of Milton Creek. It shines bright in the night sky, a strange visitor emitting an unworldly light, sinking slowly below the skyline as dawn breaks. Each successive evening it rises still higher in the sky and each day its moves closer along the Creek. For miles around it is visible in the wide-open skies of north Kent; a beacon for what lies beneath. People return night after night, ideas are germinated, a place transformed.