Annie Morris & Idris Khan Provide an Encapsulating Exploration of Blue

The exhibition will be on display from December 13, 2019 to February 20, 2020 at the Galerie ISA, Mumbai, India.

Idris Khan, The Calm is but a Wall, 2019

Galerie ISA is presenting the series of works created by London-based artist couple Idris Khan and Annie Morris inspired by the colour blue. The artists are particularly engaged with colour and with how their various mediums transpose and transform according to the tone, hue, intensity and variety of pigment they are employing. The result is that adhering to the exploration of this evocative colour has become all encapsulating.

Annie Morris, Stack 7, Ultramarine Blue Dark, 2019

For both artists, this exhibition has presented a unique challenge. For Khan it affords him the opportunity to expand upon the works he made for his recent New York show, ‘Blue Rhythms’, where he presented a series of photographic prints and wall-mounted reliefs of graphic pieces dominated by the colour blue. In that show and in this, Khan uses the intensity of the colour blue in order to create and play with narratives.

Idris Khan, The Old Tune, 2019

Morris’ work, on the other hand, have a joyful, playful fecundity that perfectly balances Khan’s practice. Her totem-like stack sculptures of variously sized vividly coloured balls of pigment have rightly been described as ‘stacks of joy’. Yet Morris’s personal journey towards this body of work was born out of the pain of losing a baby. Stricken with grief, she took solace in her studio, making these round, egg like forms, first in drawings, until they took shape in plaster and pigment. Her take on the phallic totem is a decidedly feminine one, and a celebratory one too - reaching towards the sky in a joyful way but in a manner that doesn’t detract from the fragile nature of the uniquely placed combination of balls.

Annie Morris, Stack 9, Cadmium Red, 2019

In a country such as India where the scent of spices, riots of colour and a cacophony of sound assault the senses on a daily basis, it is not so hard to imagine how the rich hue of indigo might trigger an olfactory memory as well as absorbing the eye. In the brilliant light of Bombay, a rich blue on glass can sparkle like the most brilliant sapphire, and the result is enchanting. For this show at Galerie ISA, Khan has created something very special. An indigo coloured glass painting, which at 2x2.5m, is the largest scale piece the artist has produced to date in this medium. Striking a counter-balancing note of contemplation, Khan’s musical palimpsests take on a mesmeric quality in the context of an arena that allows for and encourages the repetition of hypnotic sounds.

Idris Khan, 2019

Annie Morris has focused on creating a stack in one colour - in this case echoing the rich intensity of Yvette Klein’s blue or the deep hue of Paul Sinoir’s Cubist villa in the midst of Marrakech’s Majorelle gardens. Morris has always been drawn by colour and the psychologically affecting nature of different pigments, but she has also always been fascinated by the line. Indeed the line is something that has always underpinned her practice - be it in the form of drawings, tapestries or even in metal where, taking the lead from abstract expressionist sculptors such as David Smith, Morris has used the bold and simple nature of metal to create shapes which outline and frame the embodiment of the fecund female body.

Annie Morris, Stack 8, Ultramarine Blue, 2019

Back in London, Khan and Morris share a space which is divided into two separate studios but joined by a communal area. This exhibition provides a rare and privileged insight into how these two distinctly different artists think and work, but also how their separate practices engage with and inspire the other. For Khan and Morris, it is as important to consider the role of the invisible as well as visible. It is the presence of the shadow, the reverberations of colour, sound and memory that persist and can transform our understanding of art, as much as a direct physical encounter with a bold image that engage them. In a sense both artists are working towards the sublime but from their own unique perspectives. Where they cross over is both a point of entry for this exhibition and an embarkation towards a deeper engagement with colour and with our sensorial reading of art and human experience.