The Very Public Art of Heather Peak and Ivan Morison
Texts by Claire Doherty and Gavin Wade
With additional contributions from Danielle Arnaud, Monica Boekholt, Jemima Burrill, David Cross, Lucy Davies, Sarah Farrar, Hannah Firth, Eric Fredericksen, Synthia Griffin, Dorita Hannah, Philip Hewat Jaboor, Rose Higham-Stainton, Ellie Jones, Mark Lanctôt, Clare Lilley, Karin Lohr, Donna Lynas, John McGraff, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, Marie McPartlin, Marie-Anne McQuay, Laura Mansfield, Sally O’Reilly, Peta Rake, Miles Richardson, Kathleen Ritter, Clint Roenisch, Andrea Schlieker, Anthony Spira, Ben Tufnell, Sarah Weir
Artists Heather Peak and Ivan Morison have established an ambitious collaborative practice that transcends traditional divisions between art, architecture, theatre and activism. Their work is often performance-based and site-specific, existing as one-off events, social projects, or large-scale installations and buildings in public spaces. In particular, they are known for their architectural structures that relate to ideas of escape, play, shelter and refuge, the transformation of the modern city, and the function of civic communities. Their central preoccupation has always been how we navigate catastrophe and the violence of change. More recent works have moved from a wider collective view towards how individuals deal with moments of personal calamity. Frequently working with local governments, business, and community groups, the Morisons see their role as making art that enables others to see the world and themselves afresh, to lift themselves out of the everyday, and to transform the places in which they live.
Love Me or Leave Me Alone presents a journey through the past decade and a half of the Morisons’ practice, with an emphasis on their pavilions, escape vehicles, and public artworks. It shows how the artists engage with materials, histories, sites, and processes, as well as other areas of creativity, thought, and commerce, to directly address the major societal questions of our time. Texts by curators Claire Doherty and Gavin Wade, detailed project descriptions, and contributions by some of the commissioners, architects, writers, and others with whom the Morisons have collaborated are accompanied by the duo’s own reflections on each work. Beautiful and inspiring, this stunning and timely volume shows some of the ways that artists can be active agents of change, to bring meaning, beauty, and purpose to everyday life, and, in the Morisons’ own words, to create a blueprint for happiness.
Heather Peak and Ivan Morison have worked together as an artist duo since 2003.
Claire Doherty MBE is an award-winning producer and writer. Currently the creative director of Collective Cymru, a partnership of Welsh arts organizations and artists led by National Theatre Wales, producing GALWAD in 2022. She is the former director of Arnolfini in Bristol and former founder director of Situations, an internationally renowned commissioner and producer of public art. She lectures and publishes widely on producing and commissioning public and place-based creative projects. She was awarded the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Fund Award as an outstanding cultural entrepreneur in 2009.
Gavin Wade is an award-winning artist, writer, and curator, and director of the artist-run gallery space Eastside Projects in Birmingham. He is Senior Research Fellow at Birmingham City University and was previously Research Fellow in Curating at Wolverhampton University. He received the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Fund Award in 2010. He has curated numerous solo and group exhibitions and artists’ projects internationally, and his many published books include Upcycle this Book (2017), Has Man a Function in Universe? (2008), and Curating in the 21st Century (2000).