Kunsthaus Bregenz

Susan Philipsz

Night and Fog

30 Jan - 03 Apr 2016

Susan Philipsz, Installation view
Night and Fog
30 January — 3 April 2016

Scottish born Susan Philipsz is one of today’s leading artists. 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.

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, 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.

Tags: Susan Philipsz, Alain Resnais, Peter Zumthor