April 22, 2005 - Malmö Konsthall - Susan Philipsz
April 22, 2005

Susan Philipsz

Susan Philipsz, Wild is the Wind, D.A.E. San Sebastian, 2002  

Susan Philipsz
30.4 – 21.8.2005

Opening: Friday 29 April, 7-9 pm
Press Preview: Thursday 29 April , 11 am
Artist talk: Saturday 30 April, 3 pm

Malmo Konsthall
St Johannesgatan 7
SE-200 10 Malmo
T +46-40-341293
F +46-40-301507


In her first solo exhibition in the Nordic countries, the Scottish artist Susan Philipsz makes use of every cubic centimetre of space in Malmo Konsthall. Philipsz works primarily with sound, film and space, and the starting point of her works is the interface and tension between subjective and collective memories of popular music, political songs and film experiences.

Philipsz uses known songs, music and film themes to capture her audience between the public and the private and to take us on a journey into our own memory. She draws inspiration from literature and music, and has, for instance, rerecorded David Bowie’s entire album, Ziggy Stardust, a capella. In this way Philipsz’ interpretations create memory “shifts” which evoke many different associations and which remind her audience of everything from teenage euphoria, dreams and loneliness to private moments in the shower.

“With my work I am trying to bring an audience back to their environment, not the opposite. What I am trying to do is make you aware of the place you are in while heightening your own sense of self.” Susan Philipsz

The songs are often presented in public places and in situations where one least expects them, such as in a supermarket, a cinema, a pedestrian underpass or a harbour in San Sebastian. The songs are not perfect – like a professional singer would have sung them – and that is one of the qualities of Philipsz’ interpretations. Another is the way they relate to the space, architecture and social context in which they are placed.

Her work The Dead thematises subjects like loss and memory. The Dead refers to the story of the same name which James Joyce wrote in 1906-1907, and to the screen version made by John Huston in 1987. The work has been presented as the sound track of a completely black 35 mm film, which is only broken up by fleeting white patches. The lack of any images creates a mental space for the observer in which his/her own private memories and losses can be placed, but the song also challenges our collective memory via the narrative and the filmic.

Susan Philipsz often bases her works on the architecture and history of the exhibition space. For Malmo Konsthall she is creating a new work specifically for Klas Anshelm’s 30-year-old building, and will be making the art gallery visible in a way we have never before experienced.

Susan Philipsz was born in 1965 in Glasgow, Scotland and lives and works in Berlin, Germany. She has exhibited in many international contexts, including at Manifesta 3, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2000); the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland (2001); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France (2002); Kunstverein Arnsberg, Germany (2004); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany (2004); Westfalischer Kunstverein, Munster, Germany (2004); and the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England (2004). This year Philipsz has been commissioned to create public works for Dundee Contemporary Fine Arts, Scotland; Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany; and in Nicosia, Cyprus.

The catalogue will be published on 22 June and contain texts by:
Will Bradley, critic, curator and musician, Glasgow, Scotland.
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, critic and curator, chief curator at Castello di Rivoli, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli, Italy.
Caoimhin Mac Giolla Leith, critic and curator, Dublin, Ireland.
Francis McKee, critic and curator and head of Digital Art and New Media at the CCA in Glasgow, Scotland.
Andrew Renton, freelance curator and critic, director of the Curatorial Programme at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, England.

Opening Friday 29 April, 7-9 pm. Open daily 11 am – 5 pm, Wednesdays 11 am – 9 pm. Tours daily at 2 pm and Wednesdays also at 6:30 pm. Free admission.

Artist talk on Saturday 30 April at 3 pm.

Next exhibition:
23.6 – 21.8 2005

The exhibition at Malmo Konsthall of works by Jacob Dahlgren and Katarina Lofstrom presents two separate artists. But between their works interesting encounters arise – aesthetic, formal, and in terms of content – not least between the concrete, the representative, and the abstract. Jacob Dahlgren is a painter and sculptor but he works to a large extent without the traditional materials of painting and sculpture. Instead, his abstract works consist of objects which surround us in our everyday life. They might be coat-hangers, coffee mugs, lamps, or, as in this exhibition, a range of different materials. Arranged (for instance stacked on top of one another), the individual objects lose their intended function, their original value, and become part of something completely new. They become materials with which to paint; they become colours and shapes which form the basis of exciting visual experiences and a kind of “open” and democratic aesthetics.

Katarina Lofstrom works with animated videos which relate to painting, and, in her later works, also to drawing. In her works she combines the representative with the abstract. Hang Ten Sunset (2000), one of two works shown at Malmo Konsthall, undeniably bears the legacy of modernism’s colour field painting. But Lofstrom also plays with another kind of culture. Aided by its title, the work recalls the flashy decade of the 1980s – a surfer society clothed in horizontally striped T-shirts on a beach in front of a kitschy sunset. Combining in this way aspects of popular culture and purely visual, sometimes hypnotic qualities is typical of her work.

Jacob Dahlgren and Katarina Lofstrom were both born in 1970. They are both based in Stockholm and trained there at the Royal University College of Fine Arts and the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design respectively.

Malmö Konsthall
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