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Born: 1965, Glasgow, Scotland
Lives and Works: Berlin
At the heart of Susan Philipsz's ephemeral installations lie the infinite possibilities of sound to sculpt both the physical experience of space and the intangible recollections of memories. She records her own voice singing a cappella renditions of appropriated music and then projects the recordings in particular locations, imperceptibly transforming viewers' understanding of the architectural setting and magnifying their perception of the passage of time. Sunset Song (2003) consists of two recordings of "The Banks of the Ohio," an American folk song (based on a river originating in Pittsburgh) whose haunting lyrics relate a tale in which a spurned man drowns the object of his unrequited affections. With Philipsz singing both the male and female perspectives, the sound--powered by solar panels and projected here in the museum's Sculpture Courtyard--fades with the setting sun. In One and the Same (2008), created for this exhibition, Philipsz sings three overlapping renditions of a medieval ballad relating the story of a woman lured away from her husband and child by a returning lover. This installation can be heard in the Music Hall.
Watch more video interviews in the Video/Audio Library.