Words by Lula Criado (Twitter @Lula_ClotMag)
Visual artist Claire Morgan (Irish-born, London-based) utilizes taxidermy to create sculptural installations. Her surreal and fascinating universe is inhabited by botanical and zoological specimens suspended from the ceiling by threads.
Claire Morgan blends art, living materials, taxidermy and literature —the titles of the works are important to understand her universe— to challenge the definition of art and promote critical thinking on change, time, movement and stillness.
The central axis of her work, how humans are related with the natural world, is in harmony with her hanging installations composed of organic and inanimate material. Seeds, strawberries and, as well birds, animals and insects—that look like if they were frozen— flout with an apparently lack of gravity.
What do you most like and dislike about the period we live in?
We have access to such an amazing range of information, philosophy and thinking, evidence and documentation of things that happen in the world, and creative responses to those things, and with this comes the potential for enormous development as individuals, to make changes so that we sit more peacefully and naturally within the world we are part of.
What I dislike most is that we seemingly cannot be bothered. So many people choose not to engage with this, do not care, and persist in just sticking more and more crap on top of the earth with which to temporarily distract themselves. It seems like a real waste.
What is your chief enemy of creativity?
Convention and fear.
If you would have to give up one of your five senses, which one would it be and why?
I think it would probably be smell. Many things that smell good also taste good, and I love cooking and eating too much to choose taste. Sight, sound, and touch are things I could not choose to part with.
What is the worst piece of advice you have been given?
It’s not so much a piece of advice, but I remember as a child (maybe 12 or 13 years old) we visited my parents’ friends and they asked what I would do for a living.
I told then I would be an artist. I remember the husband snorted and laughed in an unpleasant way, and the wife sympathetically tried to ’defend’ my choice by responding that an art teacher could bring in a reasonable second wage. So they’d assumed already that I would not be an artist (which maybe wasn’t a crazy assumption though I am lucky my dad did support my choice) but that it would be ok because I could simply find a man to rely on financially.
Twenty years later I still clearly remember how much this idea disturbed me, so I think maybe it served as good anti-advice if very little else. Thankfully neither has yet come true!
Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
I am totally introvert. I am not shy but I have a small group of close friends and am not good at making new ones. I need to think before I speak, and don’t like small talk, so I tend to disappear in a large group, unless that group includes some of the aforementioned good friends!
One for the ride… Who or what was the last person, place or thing that fascinated you?
I have become very interested in meditation and Buddhism recently. I’m interested in how much of what happens to us day-to-day is a product of the stories that are going on in our heads, as opposed to what is actually happening in the moment, and how it can be possible to change that.
Also, I am fascinated by the writing of David Foster Wallace, which is just so strange, and so beautiful.
Forthcoming places where Morgan’s work will be exhibited.
The Tourists (Group show) 3 May – 31 October 2014 at Felbrigg Hall (Norwich, Norfolk, UK); Trappings (Solo show) 20 June – 28 November 2014 at Musee Joseph-Denais (Beaufort.en-Vallee, France); The Infected Museum (Group show) October 2014 – October 2015 at Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History; Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better (Solo show) 6 November 2014 – 11 January 2015 at Osthaus Museum (Hagen, Germany. Touring to Stadtmuseum, Jena, Germany in 2015); The Gathering Dusk (Solo Show) 24 February – 22 June 2015 at Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature (Paris, France)
(Photo credit: ©Claire Morgan. Courtesy Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, Paris, St. Moritz)