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Susan Philipsz The Shortest Shadow


Installation view of Sunset Song at Artpace, San Antonio, Texas, 2003
Susan Philipsz
The Shortest Shadow
Sept 17, 2009–Jan 2, 2010
The Shortest Shadow features two pieces by Susan Philipsz, whose work examines the sensory and environmental effects of sound, and of song. Philipsz (b. 1965), who is originally from Glasgow but now lives in Berlin, often uses her own unaccompanied voice as the instrument for her stripped down, deeply atmospheric installations.

Her selections of music range from Irish and American folk tunes to songs by the Beatles and PJ Harvey, radically reinterpreted to fill, or haunt, the carefully chosen spaces they occupy. Your experience of those spaces is likely to be modified just as radically, as you'll discover while visiting the center this autumn.

The sounds of Philipsz's Sunset Song (2003) fill the space along a walkway connecting the Wexner Center and the Oval. For this work Philipsz recorded two a cappella renditions of The Banks of the Ohio, a 19th-century American folk ballad that spins tales of murder and romantic tragedy. Philipsz performs verses that tell similar stories from male and female perspectives, and the volume of the song changes with light conditions through the day.

Only the sights and sounds of projected black leader film accompany the artist's a cappella performance of "The Lass of Aughrim" in Philipsz's The Dead (2000). That anonymous Irish ballad marks a painful turning point in James Joyce's classic story of marital estrangement and John Huston's film adaptation of it. Both are sources of inspiration for Philipsz's poignant work. A two-minute version of Philipsz's The Dead (initially presented as a 22-minute continuous loop during the exhibition opening) screens in the Film/Video Theater before selected 35mm feature film presentations.

Here's the schedule:

Oct 3 | 2 PM (Word Is Out)
Oct 29-30 | 7 PM (35 Shots of Rum)
Nov 9 | 7 PM (Mission to Moscow and The Last Bolshevik)
Dec 11-12 | 7 PM (City of Sadness)
Dec 18-19 | 7 PM (Léon Morin, Priest and Brighton Rock)

Read more about each piece in a publication available at the info desk with essays by Christopher Bedford, the exhibition's curator, and Bill Horrigan, the Wexner Center's director of media arts.

Organized by the Wexner Center.
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