Heather and Ivan Morison: Slyk Chaynjis

DiverseWorks, Houston / United States of America

November 7, 2013

Heather and Ivan Morison: Slyk Chaynjis

November 2–December 28, 2013

4102 Fannin Street
Houston, TX  77004
Hours: Wednesdays noon–8pm,
Thursday–Saturday noon–6pm


DiverseWorks has commissioned UK-based artists Heather and Ivan Morison to create their first major project in the United States, Slyk Chaynjis. Using social personae to investigate the construction of self, Heather and Ivan Morison engage with materials, histories, sites, and processes to create performance-based and site-specific works, often in the public realm. Through peripatetic travels, the Morisons have previously produced sculptures, photographs, architectural structures, shelters, puppet performances, radio plays, and fiction.  

Slyk Chaynjis is both the name of the exhibition and the protagonist in a fictional narrative about an unlikely pair of travelers on an epic journey. The Morisons’ dark comedy unfolds over the course of six acts and in multiple locations—inside and outside of DiverseWorks—and unpacks the construction of “self” as a performance provoked by personal trauma, psychological breakdown, and ethical discrepancy. On the road to places unknown and for purposes unclear, Slyk and her companion struggle to reconcile internal truths with public perceptions as they resolutely forge ahead into a future filled with delusion, enchantment, and fleeting hope.

Inside the private space of the gallery, Slyk tells her tale with objects and personal interactions with visitors who have entered into her realm. While inside, she is in doubt of her identity, oscillating between her past and present personae. It is when she embarks outside for daily excursions with her companion—part servant, part son—that she is “on stage” and fully in character. They stop on street corners: she delivering proclamations, dance performances, and stories; and he serving alternatingly as patsy, assistant, protector, and observer. They are an odd couple, contrasting in every physical sense, but their differences create a greater whole and their actions feel choreographed through a long familiarity with one another.

Act 1 – A Dark and Silent Room, part 1 
(gallery, noon–1pm)

Act 2 – Go on Cry 
(restaurant, 1–2pm)

Act 3 – A Dark and Silent Room, part 2 
(gallery, 2–3pm)

Act 4 – Smile All the While 
(vacant lot, 3–4pm)

Act 5 – A Dark and Silent Room, part 3 
(gallery, 4–5pm)

Act 6 – One gin is very nice, but two gins are even nicer 
(cocktail lounge, 5–6pm)

Heather Peak was born in Desborough, UK in 1973 and Ivan Morison in Istanbul, Turkey in 1974. Currently they live and work between Brighton and North Wales. The Morisons represented Wales at the 52nd Venice Biennale and have had solo exhibitions of their works at important venues such as The Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, The Southbank Centre London, Milton Keynes, The Hepworth Wakefield, Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Camden Arts Centre. 

About DiverseWorks
DiverseWorks is a non-profit art center in Houston, Texas dedicated to commissioning and presenting new visual, performing, and literary art. DiverseWorks values the artistic process and encourages artists to test new ideas in the public arena. By investigating the social, cultural, and artistic issues of our time, DiverseWorks builds, educates, and sustains audiences for contemporary art.

DiverseWorks is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, foundations, corporations, businesses, and individuals—including DiverseWorks Members.

DiverseWorks Season Sponsors: The Brown Foundation, Inc., The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, The Houston Endowment, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.