Didier Morelli

Festivals: M:ST 9 Biennial | September 7 - October 7, 2018.

A rolling [insert land artist surname] gathers no moss

On a road trip across the United States, in the summer of 2015, I unceremoniously took a basalt stone from Robert Smith­son’s iconic earthwork Spiral Jetty (1970). The gesture, transgressive in its violation of the conservation of an artwork, unwit­tingly played on the ambiguous nature of land art—as both public property (of the earth) and private author­ship (of the artist). While on loan from Smithson, it has followed me to Chicago and New York City, where it sits by my bedside table—on its own pedestal.

A rolling [insert land artist surname] gathers no moss takes the physicality of this stone as an opportunity to further an ongoing investigation of land art conducted by inserting my own per­forming body in action in various rural and urban landscapes. This durational action places common physical materials used in earthworks in relation with my own physical body. Moving through the space by performing various repetitive and task-driven gestures and actions, I transform these materials. Adopting a performative process of entropy, the piece fluctuates between states of com­plete disorder or lack of predictability and others of clear intelligibility and order.


Born and raised in Montreal, Didier Morelli is an interdisciplinary artist who combines practice and research in both his academic and performative explorations. Morelli is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. His live art practice includes endurance-based, contextually specific, and relational actions. His studio-based work, which incorporates elements of installation, drawing, photography and video, has been shown in solo exhibitions (Katherine Mulherin Gallery, Toronto, 2012; the Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery, Chicago, 2015; and SIGHTINGS at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Montreal, 2016) as well as in group exhibitions (the Audain Gallery, Vancouver, 2015). He has performed at 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, Toronto, 2014; the Buenos Aires Performance Art Biennial, Buenos Aires, 2017; and at ViVA Art Action, Montreal, 2017. His dissertation focuses on the relationship between the built environment and the kinesthetic nature of performing bodies in everyday outdoor architectural spaces. His writing has been published in Canadian Theatre Review, C Magazine, and esse arts + opinions.