Joan Morey's project COLLAPSE
encompassed three simultaneous chapters. Firstly, the exhibition ‘Desiring machine, Working machine
’ surveyed ten projects from the last fifteen years of the artist’s work 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, and was the definitive version of the touring exhibition ‘Social Body’. It centred around a presentation of the “performance for camera” ‘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 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
‘COLLAPSE: Bachelor Machine
’ is an adaptation of the first two chapters of the Barcelona presentations for Casal Solleric
, and is the first retrospective of Morey in his native Mallorca. Twelve stately rooms of Casal Solleric’s 18th-century piano nobile and its columned patio hosted a selection of six projects produced between 2007 and 2017, and a continuous programme of eight audio works. This Mallorca presentation was organised by the Directorate-General of Visual Arts of the Culture and Social Welfare Council, Palma City Council.
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
sources), and institutional
critique (examining and addressing the ideologies and power of our social, cultural, and political institutions).