Professor Simon Morris
About Professor Simon Morris
Simon Morris’ research appears in the form of exhibitions, publications, installations, films, actions and texts which all revolve around the form of the book and often involve collaborations with people from the fields of art, creative technology, literature and psychoanalysis.
Simon Morris examines the relationship between reading and art. He proposes a new method of making art via conceptualist performed readings. This method grafts the aesthetic legacy of Conceptual Art on to various notions of writing (from literary composition to data management) in order to produce materially-specific poems as artworks that have in some way re-read a found object. This is an art of reading things differently. It starts from a premise proved by the impossibility of making purely conceptual art: that art is always aesthetical and conceptual. To that it couples an obsession with language as both material signifier and social activity. In doing so it establishes a mode of making art that asks: What could we write if reading could be a materially productive act of making art? How might a certain kind of reading-as-making problematise the understandings of authorship, production and reproduction ensconced in our cultural industries? Morris’ work celebrates reading differently as a praxis of exploring the elsewhere of what languages and their users can mean and do. Morris is committed to working collaboratively and against all-too-certain counter-productive divisions between contemporary art and contemporary literature.
He teaches across the school of Architecture, Art and Design. He is the organizer of INSIDE/OUT, the School public lecture series which involves inviting and hosting the brightest minds of our generation to come and speak at Leeds Beckett University. One key responsibility is the coordination of Unit: 34 - Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory for the University submission for REF 2020.
In 2002, Morris founded the publishing imprint information as material. He is the author of numerous experimental books, including; Bibliomania (1998); The Royal Road to the Unconscious (2003); Re-Writing Freud (2005); Getting Inside Jack Kerouac’s Head (2010); and Pigeon Reader (2012). He is an occasional curator and a regular lecturer on contemporary art and also directed the documentary films sucking on words: Kenneth Goldsmith (2007) and making nothing happen: Pavel Büchler (2010). He has had solo shows at the Freud Museum in London and Printed Matter Inc., New York City. He regularly gives talks on his work and was recently invited to speak at; The Royal Academy in the Hague, Holland; Warsaw Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Poland; the Kelly Writer’s House at the University of Pennsylvania; USA, Cabinet Gallery in Brooklyn, New York City, USA, Harvard University, Boston, USA and the Literaturwerkstatt in Berlin, Germany.
“True watershed works, I suspect, are quite rare in the history of art. Duchamp’s Fountain is certainly one. Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and John Cage’s 4'33" may be others. Each of these forced not only artists but ultimately the general public to rethink their notions of art. Each changed the nature and trajectory of art. Potential watershed works are those that stand at the outer boundary of our concepts of art and push further outward. This is where Getting Inside Jack Keroauc’s Head stands.” - Darren Hudson Hick, ‘Ontology and the Challenge of Literary Appropriation’ for the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 71:2 Spring 2013, The American Society for Aesthetics.
“Getting Inside Jack Keroauc’s Head is an exemplary instance of a conceptual work that operates by means of remediation and reclassification.” – Paul Stephens, ‘From the Personal to the Proprietary: Conceptual Writing’s Critique of Metadata’ for Digital Humanities Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2012
“I can think of no more exemplary introduction to uncreative writing, or to the broader field of conceptual writing, than this book.” – Doug Nufer ‘On the Road Again’ in American Book Review, vol.32, no.4 (Victoria: University of Houston, May/June 2011) p.11