Sunday, 1 December 2013


Susan Morris, (2009) Plumb Line Drawing_010, [Vine ash on paper], 150 x 300 cm

“Optical images possess a peculiar diversity - some of them are purely subjective, these are the ones we call virtual, whereas others are real, namely in some respects, behave like objects and can be taken for such. More peculiar still - we can make virtual images of those objects which are real images. In such an instance, the object which is the real image quite rightly has the name of virtual object.”
(Jacques Lacan, trans. John Forrester, Seminar I. 1953-54.)

Morris’ work is like a double-edged sword. There is the construction of a pre-planned repetitive drawing that is created when Morris is in a motion capture studio, that results in a drawing created from the data accumulated from sensors attached to various parts of Morris’ body. As one image is unfolded a physical abstraction representing Morris’ movement is unveiled in a processed image.  

It is as though Morris is trying to create an anti-portrait in which she is still able to recognise her own movements and existence.  The mark making is raw and communicates the simplicity of drawing in a complex, coded and processed mode through the universal language of movement.

There are strong references to performance art with the physical modelling process of the construction of the drawings using motion capture which creates a cognitive means to form the drawings.  

Documentary photograph of motion capture studio, (C) Susan Morris

One example of a repetitive drawing that Morris draws in the motion capture studio are the plumb line drawings. There is a tension in the plumb line drawings that encapsulates the rhythms of monotony and autonomy, resulting in mechanical graphic traces of the artist’s presence. The presence of the line seems temporary, a record of movement, a moment of energy and a transient trace of existence.

“The drawings I was working on were made using a plumb-line coated with chalk dust, which I was flicking against the paper…After two full day sessions, I gathered all this data and converted it into a kind of script from algorithms.” (Susan Morris)

From this Morris appears to be both capturing and leaving traces from the both voluntary and involuntary drawing processes to “create a drawing that had essentially drawn itself”(Morris). The creation of a shadow style drawing that is contextually attached to the presence of the process which draws on the non-spatial unconscious  networks of movement is processed into an image by an inkjet printer.

Susan Morris, (2012) Motion Capture Drawing [ERSD]: View From Above,[Inkjet on Archive Hahnemühle paper], 250 x 150 cm. 

It is as though Morris is printmaking with an invisible medium, extrapolating the data of physical bodily expression that is converted using algorithmic code from the reflectors and is imprinted onto paper. The mark making is an interrogation into being and existence that explores the process of a mark becoming a record of being, with the absence of a mark representing a literal and physical absence and void.

There is a sense that the space Morris inhabits is structured and documented through a means of the addition of bodily movement and is physically drawing against the subtraction of the continual feed of data being sent from the sensors. This data is readily reconstructed in the everyday, and is usually transient, undocumented and unconscious movement. However Morris captures this and transposes a moment of movement in space and time into an inkjet printed drawing that is a physical imprint of Morris’ performance onto paper.

It is as though Morris is collaborating with code, choosing to use drawing as a mode of structure to represent the unseen that exists in our everyday invisible traces. With the arrival of photography, painting was cited as being allegedly dead, however is code about to cause the castration of the (artificial?) photographic image? 

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