TALK AT SOHO FARMHOUSE HOSTED BY SUSIE LAWSON
22 NOVEMBER 2017
Recently described the by the FT’s How to Spend It as the “artist whose sculptural work has subverted the traditions of taxidermy”, Susie was delighted to be invited to interview Polly Morgan as part of Soho Farmhouse’s series of artist talks.
Polly outlined new directions in her work taking inspiration from architecture. Exploring how we, as a race, use materials to create boundaries to protect us from nature, although what was built to contain can come to constrict. Entitled How to Behave at Home, the new series use corset-like geometric forms, inspired by Brutalist architecture, from which snakes bulge. In Polly’s own words “geometry is traditionally used to represent power and order, my forms can be read as a metaphor for etiquette and all the other figurative structures we put in place to marshal us into particular behaviours.”
The talk surveyed Morgan’s artist career through her changing use of titles and constant exploration of new animal subjects. Where some early works had simple titles that refer to the humour and irony of the piece, more recent titles have a subtlety that are contemplative, open ended for the viewers own interpretation.
Exploring Morgan’s own career path, the discussion explored Polly’s view on art schools. Having not gone to art school herself, Polly reflected that 10 years ago she would have said it hadn’t affected her career. In retrospect, however, Polly spoke of the huge benefits art school students have from their experience of being able to ‘crit’ their own work and being able to more easily access the types of networks and doors that open within the art world.
Death! You’re Killing Me begged the question whether Morgan’s work is about death. The answer, we discovered is ultimately the opposite. Morgan uses animals as a raw material that can be used as an aesthetic to explore questions of ‘life’.
The illustrated talk showed the extraordinary path of Morgan’s successful career and brilliant resurgence of taxidermy as an art form.