Across the elegant floors of Spitalfields’ Raven Row, Morgan Fisher’s work delves deep into the belly of Hollywood. Specifically classic Hollywood, where 35mm film was the standard industry format and Fisher began his career-long obsession with peering beyond the confines of the silver screen to reflect on the art form and the means of its production.
The film Standard Gauge really helps establish the artist’s mindset. An ode to 35mm narrated by Fisher, it brings together off cuts of film that he foraged since his first job in movie production; the bits that did not serve a purpose and were subsequently binned. Fisher reveals what film tries to hide, and what audiences habitually ignore; namely its constructed nature, its mechanics and fakeness.
His work tends to avoid too much authorial control, but this personal work really establishes his fondness for and intellectual engagement with the medium. Incidentally, it also introduces the set up of the show where, delightfully, viewers press a button start each film themselves rather than having them loop.
What follows is a series of films, 2D and 3D works that are organised thematically rather than chronologically and engage with architectural space as well as the imagined space of movies. Fisher uses mirrors to draw viewers into their own cinematic space, or sculpture to follow the lines of the building (in the case of Raven Row, a spectacular townhouse) and draw attention to the space that would otherwise serve as a white blanket, like a cinema screen or blank sheet of paper.
Fisher’s passion and lively intellectual enquiry are very prevalent in this exhibition.
-- Laura Bushell
Images: Morgan Fisher, Film Cans and Film Boxes, 1968, Spray paint on paper, 46 x 61 cm, Collection of Daniel Buchholz and Christopher Müller, Cologne. Courtesy of the artist and Raven Row)