Those blurbs that we write about what we do and who we are at that moment and for that requested funding, position, exhibition, update or new site and that become Blurb-portraits over time.

10/2020

Bio for KU Leuven Faculty of Arts

Wendy Morris is an artist and part time professor of Contemporary Arts in the Art History Department where she teaches a Master workshop on artistic research practices in contemporary arts. She is also professor and researcher at Luca School of Arts, Brussels, where she set up the interdisciplinary Deep Histories Fragile Memories research cluster that connects artistic researchers, writers, art historians and curators from the KU Leuven, Luca, VUB, and the art institute Netwerk Aalst. She is member of the Lieven Gevaert Research Centre.

Her work has a double focus on both historical and transdisciplinary research and the artistic and written forms in which this research manifests itself. Morris was one of the first artists in Belgium to engage in the artist’s doctorate and defended her project ‘Drawing on the Past’ in 2013 with five animated films and a set of 52 letters. She now supervises doctorates in the arts.  

Born in Namibia in the year that the South West African People’s Organization was formed to resist South African control of the country, and then growing up in apartheid South Africa, her work has always been shadowed by colonial and post colonial narratives and the recuperation of marginalised histories. Through the medium of experimental animated film she has investigated histories of the South African Native Labour Contingent in Europe in World War 1 (This, of course, is a work of the Imagination, 2017 and Off the Record, 2008), the closely related histories of the colonialization of the Congo and the invasion of Belgium by the German army in World War 1 (Bully Beef, 2006), and the greed of the Leopold II regime in the Congo Free State (A Royal Hunger, 2002). In the animated research work, Heir to the Evangelical Revival (2013), she investigated the religious heritage of English ancestors who emigrated to South Africa in the 19th century, and then, keeping with the investigation into religious histories, she retraced, on foot, the route of Huguenot ancestors fleeing persecution in France in the 17th century for refuge in the Netherlands before emigrating to the VOC controlled Cape of Good Hope (Off by Heart and Out of Breath & A Song of Longing, 2016). In her current investigations she is exploring, through an examination of European, African and Asian (lost) histories of plant contraceptives, bodies of knowledge that would have flowed to the settlement at the Cape in the 17th century and informed the practice of a midwife in the Slave Lodge. This project, Nothing of Importance Occurred, is a collaborative project, involving city gardeners, botanists and botanical gardens (Belgium, Netherlands and South Africa), healers, bossiedokters, artists, writers and composers, art history interns, and the kunsthal Netwerk Aalst.

She is interested in expanded approaches to language-based practice within the field of artistic practice and is affiliated to the Language-based Artistic Research Group whose aim is to explore language as part of artistic practice rather than a tool of explication or accounting.

10/2020

Specific to my current artistic practice are Libraries, Diaries, Letters, Typewritings and Travelogues. With 45 notebooks on the shelf since I started and defended a PhD, and the 52 letters that emerged from them, with 7 years of attentive diary-keeping that have resulted in 28 red notebooks, with 11 cloth-covered project notebooks focused only on the current investigation that started two years ago, with the Radiobook, the Audiobook, and the one for Muriel, my Emissary to the Past, as well as the logbooks and herbaria… my studio resembles a scribomanic’s library. So much writing, every day, every thought. A day unnarrated is a day unreflected. A thought unwritten is a thought potentially lost. Then, there follows a second wave of writing. Typewriting. On the bright-green Remington Concord, or the office-green Voss, sometimes on the creamy Brother or the beige Erica, I typewrite. Blue carbon paper inserted between pages. The notes and narrations change register. Ideas are chopped up and tossed together. Attention goes to rhythms and repetitions. Typewriting hands make mistakes and the mistakes are integrated into the text. The hands type, the ears listens, the mouth begins to utter, mutter, to form sounds. The typewritings become scripts, scores, broken lyrics. Libraries, diaries, letters, typewritings, mutterings, whisperings, audio-eeries, spoken prologues… a continuous re-organizing of words until the moment of pleasure when the words and phrases and paragraphs – suddenly – zing.

Wendy Morris (South Africa) lives and works in Belgium. Unique to her current artistic practice are her Libraries, Diaries, Herbaria, Letters and Travelogues. Morris is currently working on Nothing of Importance Occurred: Recuperating a Herball for a 17th century Enslaved Angolan Midwife at the Cape. Through an examination of European, African and Asian histories of plant contraceptives Morris is exploring bodies of knowledge that would have flowed to the settlement at the Cape in the 17th century and informed the practice of a midwife in the Slave Lodge. For the Lubumbashi Biennale (2019) Morris made A Tale of Eleven Births, and for the group show Alias (Kunsthal Netwerk Aalst 2019) The Travelogue of the Wandering Womb: Her Fantastic Encounters and Curious UtteringsNothing of Importance is a collaborative project, involving city gardeners, botanists and botanical gardens (Belgium, Netherlands and South Africa); midwives, healers and bossiedokters; singers, spoken word and sound artists; writers and composers. Morris is professor in contemporary arts at the University of Leuven and LUCA School of Arts, Brussels, and founder of the research constellation Deep Histories Fragile Memories.

08/2020

Wendy Morris (South African-Belgian) is an artist and professor in contemporary art at KU Leuven and LUCA. Unique to her current practice are her Diaries, Letters, Spokenwords and Travelogues.

Morris is currently working on Nothing of Importance Occurred: Recuperating a Herball for a 17th century Enslaved Angolan Midwife at the Cape. Through an examination of European, African and Asian histories of plant contraceptives Morris is exploring bodies of knowledge that would have flowed to the settlement at the Cape in the 17th century and informed the practice of a midwife in the Slave Lodge. For the Lubumbashi Biennale (2019) Morris made A Tale of Eleven Births, and for the group show Alias (Kunsthal Netwerk Aalst 2019) The Travelogue of the Wandering Womb: Her Fantastic Encounters and Curious Utterings. Nothing of Importance is a collaborative project, involving city gardeners, botanists and botanical gardens (Belgium, Netherlands and South Africa); midwives, healers and bossiedokters; singers, spoken word- and sound-artists; writers and composers, and the kunsthal Netwerk Aalst.

In 2013 Morris obtained a doctorate in the arts (KU Leuven and LUCA) with a set of three animation films and 52 letters.

07/2020

Nothing of Importance Occurred is a multi-track artistic project involving research, radio, encounters, expeditions and exhibitions. It is a collaborative project with episodes in different countries and continents and involving city gardeners, botanists and botanical gardens, midwives, healers and bossiedokters, sound artists, writers and composers.

Through research into European, African and Asian histories of plant contraceptive use, Morris is exploring bodies of female knowledge that would have flowed to the settlement at the Cape in the 17th century and informed the practice of Maaij Claesje, a midwife in the Slave Lodge.

06/2020

Wendy Morris (South African/Belgian) is an artist and professor in contemporary art at KU Leuven and LUCA School of Arts, Brussels. 

Morris is connected as artist to the Kunsthal Netwerk Aalst for the programme of 2020-23. Unique to her current artistic practice are her Libraries, Diaries, Herbaria, Letters and Travelogues

03/2020

Wendy Morris (South African-Belgian) is an artist and professor in contemporary art at KU Leuven and LUCA. Unique to her current practice are her Libraries, Diaries, Dictionaries, Letters and Travelogues.

Morris is currently working on the project Nothing of Importance Occurred: Recuperating a Herball for a 17th century Enslaved Angolan Midwife at the Cape. Through an examination of European, African and Asian histories of plant contraceptives Morris is exploring bodies of knowledge that would have flowed to the settlement at the Cape in the 17th century and informed the practice of a midwife in the Slave Lodge. For the Lubumbashi Biennale (2019) Morris made A Tale of Eleven Births, and for the group show Alias (Kunsthal Netwerk Aalst 2019) The Travelogue of the Wandering Womb: Her Fantastic Encounters and Curious Utterings, both are works in the Nothing of Importance project. From 2020-2023 Morris will be working on HORTUS+HERBARIUM, a Garden of Virtues (set in the enclosed medicinal garden of the Stedelijk Museum, Aalst) and a herbarium of emmenagogues. Nothing of Importance is a collaborative project, involving city gardeners, botanists and botanical gardens (Belgium, Netherlands and South Africa), healers, bossiedokters, artists, writers and composers, art history interns, and the kunsthal Netwerk Aalst.

In 2013 Morris obtained a doctorate in the arts (KU Leuven and LUCA) with a set of three animation films and 52 letters.

2018

Prof. Wendy Morris teaches contemporary arts at KU Leuven and LUCA School of Arts, Brussels. She is an artist – filmmaker – researcher whose work is focused on the retrieval of marginalized histories and narratives. Recent work includes a solo exhibition, This, of course, is a work of the Imagination, at Mu.Zee in 2017, which was accompanied by monograph on her work.