Christopher Henry Gallery is pleased to announce “Come Hell or High Water,” its first solo exhibition of map artist Florent Morellet. As a “speculative geographer” Morellet’s recent body of work explores the effect of rising water on all levels of the socio- and geo-political landscapes. Also on view are earlier works by Morellet, evidence that he has never let his satiric eye stray from the true arc of history.
Morellet creates an interplay of tension between the assumed organization, clarity, and comfort provided by a map’s formality and his deliberate subversive conceptual disorientations. The viewer is encouraged to penetrate many of today’s prime global conundrums by re-imagining known terrains, now layered with his ironic histories and futures. In the guise of offering illumination, Morellet imposes extreme interferences to alter and disrupt. Water becomes the instrument for the viewer to navigate the explosive, often satiric dichotomies the artist himself sees with such clarity: for some, rising waters, natural or man-made, will bring hell; for others, merely higher water. Morellet the artist, part virtuosic geographer, part cartographic trickster, seductively entices the viewer to become wayfarer and chart the interior coordinates from which each observes the world.
An agnostic world citizen, an urban planner and passionate world history and geography aficionado, his experiences traveling all five continents have elevated his insights of place: what has been, what could have been and what can be. His drawings are double-edged observations of the monstrous absurdities of our collective past and tongue-in-cheek projections of those human horrors that may someday re-emerge. A self-proclaimed “Obsessive Artist,” Morellet creates meticulous worlds that astonish in their technical detail, intellectual dimensionality and multi-layered humor. Charting new provinces and reinterpreting familiar ones, his maps become compelling means of discovery, upending cartographic rules to explore uncharted territories both formal and intellectual.