Susan Philipsz and Paul Rooneyexhibition • 06 Dec 2003 – 31 Jan 2004
This exhibition brings together artists Susan Philipsz and Paul Rooney whose work has a shared interest in the way sound can be a trigger for memory and the emotive charge that voices and music bring to a space.
Philipsz and Rooney have both been commissioned to produce a new work for the exhibition which is shown alongside earlier sound and image based works.
Philipsz similar interest in popular music has become a source of inspiration for her work. As in past work Philipsz picks out thematic motifs from songs and recreates them, opening them up to new interpretations. Included is a sound piece of Philipsz playing the chimes, reminiscent of those heard in Joy Division’s, “Atmosphere”. Accompanying this is ‘Songs Sung in the First Person on Themes of Longing, Sympathy. and Release’, songs similarly reduced to simple elements of sound. For the new commissioned work, Philipsz has produced a short film loop entitled ‘Returning’. The film depicts a journey in Berlin where Philipsz tries to find places that relate to Rosa Luxemburg. Shot in short bursts, the work seeks to create a sense of returning to the most memorable moments of that day. It is also about getting lost, being in a foreign country, language barriers and seeing through the eyes of a foreigner.
Rooney continues to develop his interest in the relationship between actual or described music and an ’empty’ static video image. Extending this idea, Rooney films the view out of the Bradford and Bingley Building Society in the centre of Sheffield, where a lone female singer sings a song, based on ‘Sound of the Crowd’ by The Human League. The window in question is where the entrance to The Crazy Daisy club used to be, the spot where Jo and Susanne of the Human League were ‘discovered’ by Phil Oakey. The story of the moment of their discovery extends Rooney?s interest in the social and personal aspects of popular entertainment, the idea of being shifted from our seperate, individual experience of music, and of the world, to an experience of music that relies on belonging, being part of a group – on adding our voice to the sound of the crowd.