Sarah Morris: There is no Objective, Everything is Subjective!


I visited artist Sarah Morris’s studio on a snowy Friday afternoon in New York at March 21. A very tidy, immaculate workshop with large windows, high ceilings, several large and spacious rooms, prepared like a movie set…

We are often used to seeing works independent of the artist. However I think that to give an understanding and giving meaning to the works with the artist brings along a more holistic understanding of the idea.

Sarah Morris humbly shared not only the secrets and limits of her art but also the excitement of her new works and her life, first shyly, then sincerely, and from the heart. It is undoubtedly a precious experience to be in the same environment with the artist, in her studio.

Morris prepares her sketches digitally. She works on color compositions with watercolors, now there are not only squares but also rectangles and I feel that there will be other unexpected arrangements in her works soon. She freely paints the forms that she limits with tape. In fact she says she can change colors again at the last minute. Just like after a face transplant surgery, when the bandages are removed at the final everyone, including the artist can see the final version of the work! How striking is the final, a surprise.

Picture of  “The Building Is Like a Ship” by Sarah Morris (Sound Graph)

Sarah Morris studies different subjects, sizes, locations and geographies at various times. She presents iconic monuments to cities; she does light and color works that fill the walls of a museum or a train station and bravely works outdoor.

I didn’t know that the Japanese brand Uniqlo had her drawings on T-shirts until I met her personally; even drawing the picture of the sound!

Models from Sarah Morris Workshop

The artist attaches great importance to the place and location of  her works. She prepares the position of the work, that is the models of exhibitions and buildings; she determines the place where her work will be posted. I was very excited to see the models of the buildings, three-dimensional models of the exhibitions, miniature copies of her works and to visit that exhibition when it were not there yet. Our artist is a meticulous perfectionist. Even the dyes that spilled on the ground during her creative process were scattered as if they belonged to a plan…

Her works consist of paintings, outdoor works in iconic public buildings and even films. However there is a duality in her works, such as painting and film are parallel universes, parallel planes, parallel sounds. The name which the artist gave to her studio is Parallax! Video LINK

It’s interesting, Sarah Morris works on various dualities in her art. In other words, the artist makes a “difference-based” aesthetic. There is a richness of meaning, color and form arising from differences. She works with vectors and coordinates, she processes perspective escape points. The artist focuses on fundamental realities while constructing. Images, industry and the power of mechanization have caused a kind of reaction in her works. Even though all her paintings consist of simple shapes, they goes through a multi-layered process, and her interventions on movie posters are made with the anticipation that they will be of historical importance in the future.

Hasan Bulent Kahraman mentions this in his article on the artist titled “The Mirror Wandering around the City: Pictures of Sarah Morris” (1).

“Cubism and Pop Art are two great sources that came out of each other in the 20th century but passed on to the next generations with their innertransformations. From this point of view, an inbetween name can be seen as a very important starting point in explaining Sarah Morris’s sometimes enigmatic (mysterious) picture. Dutch painter Mondrian was using a space created by Cubism. This was not a direct interaction. It didn’t have to be. Cubism broke a 400year old norm of visuals. All of the new perception planes created involve a confrontation with the old accumulation, envisioning using different ends in the works of the Picasso-Braque duo. The De Stijl movement can be seen as an offshoot of this great body, just as later Pop Art was born using the objects and their markers that Cubism carried on the two-dimensional canvas. It should be remembered that the “grid” understanding included by De Stijl is also an improved possibility of Cubism. Mondrian was taking this understanding to an extreme already in the 1920s and he knew that the new  output in question was an extremely important, groundbreaking opportunity. The depth that the 1930s brought to this understanding was surprising. Dividing the canvas, converting the sections into a color space …”

Sarah Morris, “Spider Web” Artist’s new concept

Just like Sarah Morris stated on her canvases…

I likened the artist’s workshop, working principles, and self-discipline to a silkworm. She spins the walls of her cocoon with her paintings, each picture hangs on the wall like a post it, a message that only she will remember. She comes out of his cocoon and makes films, spins her cocoons, and paints.

While she lives the artist, producer, and director lifes from different angles, every different idea, form and landscape she experiences; they follow each other from origami forms to spider webs to the state of the moon in the sky.

Note: This article is open source and can be cited by mentioning the author. Does not require copyright.


1) Kahraman, H. B. (2011), The Mirror Walking Around the City: Pictures of Sarah Morris “, Dirimart, Sarah Morris Catalog.