Because on November 4, Sarah Morris will show her latest film, Beijing, as part of the on-going "Architecture and Film" series at the barbican, which focuses on cinematic renderings of architecture. Since the mid-1990s, Morris has been making complex abstract paintings and films, derived from the architectural language of various cityscapes. Beijing follows from Morris' earlier city-portrait studies of Manhattan, Las Vegas, Miami, Washington and L.A, which sought to filter the essence of each cultural centre. Beijing offering a glimpse of the Chinese centre - its culture and its politics - at the time of its global ascension during unveiling of the Olympic games. However, the mass-televised glossy portrait of the city is deconstructed. A succession of images- the Chinese president preparing for his Olympic address, workers packing sweets in a downtown store and cultural icons, Jackie Chan, Jacques Herzog and Rem Koolhaas - pulsate in screen against an instrumental soundtrack. Taking the form of a mesmeric tone-poem, in the style of Godfrey Reggio's Koyaanisqat, the entire feature-length trailer for Beijing is devoid of commentary. It seems as if Morris has condensed the city - its politics, culture and identity - into a refined and exposed version of itself.
Sarah Morris will present her first and latest urban portrait, Beijing, in person at The Barbican, 4 November 2010