Roberto Ruiz / Noemí Jariod / Latitudes

Joan Morey: COLLAPSE

Centre d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona - Fabra i Coats (20 September 2018–13 January 2019); Centre d’art Tecla Sala (15 November 2018–13 January 2019) and former prison La Model, Barcelona (10 January 2019). Tour to Casal Solleric, Palma de Mallorca (31 January–6 September 2020)

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Joan Morey's project COLLAPSE encompassed three simultaneous chapters in different locations. Firstly, the exhibition ‘Desiring machine, Working machine’ surveyed ten projects from the last fifteen years of the artist’s work presented over two floors of the Contemporary Art Centre of Barcelona - Fabra i Coats. The display was based around vitrines and video screens deployed as if sarcophagi or reliquaries and was presented alongside a continuous programme of audio works and a programme of live performance extracts.

The second chapter took place at the Centre d’Art Tecla Sala, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona), and was the definitive version of the touring exhibition ‘Social Body’. It centred around a presentation of the “performance for camera” film work ‘COS SOCIAL. Lliçó d’anatomia’ [SOCIAL BODY. Anatomy Lesson], awarded the 2017 Premi de Videocreació of the Xarxa de Centres d’Arts Visuals de Catalunya, Arts Santa Mònica – Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya, and LOOP Barcelona.

The third and concluding part, ‘Schizophrenic Machine’ comprised a major new site-specific work. Morey's first performance with no human actors, which continued his long-standing exploration of power structures and control of the body. The location was undisclosed until 113 pre-registered audience members were driven by coaches to the former prison La Model in Barcelona. A cast of drones and a High Speed Motion Control system, together with voice recordings, strobe lighting and an architecture scanning laser dramatised the foreboding 1904 Panopticon prison architecture.

In January 2020, an adaptation of the first two chapters of the Barcelona presentations was presented at Casal Solleric. Twelve stately rooms of Casal Solleric’s 18th-century piano nobile and its columned patio hosted ‘COLLAPSE: Bachelor Machine’, the first retrospective of the artist in his native Mallorca, with a selection of six projects produced between 2007 and 2017, and a continuous programme of eight audio works.

Since the late 1990s, Joan Morey (Mallorca, 1972) has produced an expansive body of live events, videos, installations, sound and graphic works, that has explored the intersection of theatre, cinema, philosophy, sexuality and subjectivity. In 2017 Morey was awarded the Ciutat de Barcelona Award for Visual Arts given by Barcelona City Council in recognition of excellence in creativity, research and artistic production.

Morey’s work both critiques and embodies one of the most thorny and far-reaching aspects of human consciousness and behaviour – how we relate ourselves to others, as the oppressed or the oppressor. This central preoccupation with the exercise of power and authority seemingly accounts for the black and ominous tenor of his art. His practice brings together three vitally important genres of contemporary art: performance (presenting time-based live scenarios, usually involving human bodies and audiences), appropriation (taking and recasting existing texts, forms, and styles – whether from subcultural, literary or classical sources), and institutional critique (examining and addressing the ideologies and power of our social, cultural, and political institutions).

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