Maureen Paley is pleased to present the first solo exhibition by Morgan Fisher following on from his screening at the gallery in 2013.
My father taught me photography in 1955, when I was twelve years old. I made my first movies (they were conventional home movies) with a Brownie 8mm camera in 1956. I believed that photography and film as I found them in the 1950s would last forever.
All of the works in this exhibition were made as photographs or films. I didn’t do this to sustain my belief, it was the way I wanted to do things, and they were easy and normal things to do. But in treating some of the works after their original production I have chosen to work digitally because it is simpler.
Production Footage, shot on 16mm film in 1971, documents two kinds of movie cameras and the models of production they imply, both now obsolete since in principle film itself is. But true to its identity, the work is presented here as projected film.
Red Boxing Gloves / Orange Kitchen Gloves was shot in 1980 in Polavision, an instant movie format that the videocassette made obsolete. The work is in the form of a pendant pair, a convention that arose in seventeenth-century Holland. The pendant pair consists of two paintings with subjects that are complements of each other. In the classic case one painting shows a husband and the other his wife. Together the two figures make a larger whole. The two pairs of gloves express this same relation in figurative if conventional terms. A few years ago I transferred the films to DVDs; far simpler to show them in that form than as films.
The photographs of unused boxes of still film from the 1950s, shot recently, express the pathos of how I thought about photography and film those many years ago. Most of the manufacturers have disappeared or have stopped making film. At the time these objects were made they carried the promise of future use. Now, their expiration dates long past, they are useless, at least with respect to their original purpose, their uselessness underlined by the fact that photography on film as an amateur practice is essentially extinct. The photographs were shot on film, a practice still current in commercial photography, but scanned and then printed as archival pigment prints.
Morgan Fisher, October 2014
Morgan Fisher was born in 1942 in Washington, D.C. He studied art history at Harvard College and then film in Los Angeles. He lives and works in Santa Monica, California.
Previous solo exhibitions include: Conversations, Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, USA, 2012; The Frame and Beyond, Generali Foundation, Vienna, Austria, 2012; Films and Paintings and In Between and Nearby, Raven Row, London, 2011; Translations, Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany, 2011; Portikus Looks at Itself, Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany, 2009; Standard Gauge: Film Works by Morgan Fisher, 1968-2003, Museum of Contemporary Art, MOCA, Los Angeles, California, USA, 2006; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA, 2006; Standard Gauge: The Films of Morgan Fisher, Tate Modern, London, 2005. His work was included in the 2014, 2004 and 1985 Whitney Biennials.
Solo publications include: Morgan Fisher. Conversations, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, 2014; Morgan Fisher: Exterior and Interior Color Beauty, Bortolami Gallery, New York, 2013; Morgan Fisher. Two Exhibitions / Writings, Generali Foundation, Vienna, Museum Abteiberg, Monchengladbach and Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne, 2012; Films and Paintings and In Between and Nearby, Raven Row, London, 2011.