Artist: Susan Philipsz
Venue: Kunsthaus Bregenz
Exhibition Title: Night and Fog
Date: January 30 – April 3, 2016
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of the artist; Kunsthaus Bregenz; Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin; and Tanya Bonakdar, New York
Scottish born Susan Philipsz is one of today’s leading arists. Her work revolves around a melancholic existentialism and explorations of the human voice. She became well-known through a capella renditions of songs. For the Glasgow International Festival she developed Lowlands, after a ballad from the 16th century, which was later recreated at Tate Britain in London, where it won her the prestigious Turner Prize (2010).
The subject matter of memory, trauma, and mourning are ones she has increasingly confronted recently, such as at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and in Kassel for dOCUMENTA (13). For her new series of works War Damaged Musical Instruments, 2015, she has been employing instruments damaged by war. The point of departure for her current project for Kunsthaus Bregenz is Peter Zumthor’s architecture, an illuminated structure, together with the lake and the fog that is typical of the town. Fog as a metaphor was also the source of the title for the 1955 French documentary Night and Fog by Alain Resnais reconstructing the deportations to Auschwitz and Majdanek. Philipsz has deconstructed Hanns Eisler’s soundtrack for the film into the individual voices of the instruments. Isolated and removed from the overall composition, their timbres fill the seemingly archaic spaces of the Kunsthaus with an almost sculptural presence.
Philipsz is creating a second sound installation at the Jewish Cemetery in Hohenems, in collaboration with the Jewish Museum there, which can be experienced concurrently to the exhibition at KUB.
Concerning the two exhibitions the artist has written:
“At Kunsthaus Bregenz I would like to explore disappearance, obscurity and absence, merging the atmospherics of the site with a deeper historical perspective. […] I have chosen to work with mainly wind and brass instruments to emphasise the breath passing through the instruments and passing through the space. Each of the tones will be separated and there are gaps and pauses where the other instruments should be. At each level the work is different but the composition is reprised and there is a sense of repetition with sounds from different levels combining in unexpected places throughout the building.”
Susan Philipsz was born in 1965 in Glasgow. She completed a BA in Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee (1989—93) and an MA in Fine Art at the University of Ulster, Belfast (1993—94). In 2000 she was awarded a residency in the P.S.1 studio program, and in 2001 she participated in the Kunst-Werke e.V. artists’ residency program in Berlin, the city she has lived in since. In 2010 she won the Turner Prize, and in 2014 she was awarded an OBE. Her recent solo exhibitions include War Damaged Musical Instruments, Duveen Galleries, Tate Britain, London (2015/2016); Follow Me, various locations in Genoa, Museo de Arte Contemporana Villa Croce, Genoa (2015); War Damaged Musical Instruments (Pair), Theseustempel, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (2015); The Distant Sound, various venues, Denmark, Sweden, Norway (2014); Part File Score, Museum für Gegenwart — Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2014); It Means Nothing To Me, Mizuma Gallery, Beijing, (2012); Seven Tears, Ludwig Forum für internationale Kunst, Aachen (2011); You Are Not Alone, Haus des Rundfunks, Berlin (2011); We Shall Be All, MCA Chicago (2011). Her many group exhibitions include the 14th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul (2015); Soundscapes, The National Gallery, London (2015); Parasophia: Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture, Kyoto (2015); Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg (2014); Soundings, A Contemporary Score, MoMA – The Museum of Modern Art, New York, (2013); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012); Haunted, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010); Turner Prize, Tate Britain, London (2010); the 29th Biennale de São Paulo, São Paulo (2010). Public collections include Tate Britain, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis; MCA Chicago; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Palazzo Reale, Milan.