The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, October 21, 2018

American artist Susan Hiller opens exhibition at the Abattoirs Museum in Toulouse
Visitors look at a video installation, comprising of 106 TV sets, by American artist Susan Hiller in the Abattoirs Museum in Toulouse, southern France, as part of Toulouse's International Art Festival, on June 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / REMY GABALDA.

TOULOUSE.- Although her work has been shown in numerous European and American museums over the last twenty years, and notably in a major retrospective at the Tate in 2011, Susan Hiller has had few exhibitions in France. In the large basement rooms of the Abattoirs four immersive works will be on show, including a new piece, all linked by a mesh of human voices, from the lost languages of the Last Silent Movie to the stirrings and statements collected in Channels and in Resounding Ultra Violet.

Hiller’s early worked was strongly influenced by minimal and conceptual art. She then went on to develop what she calls “paraconceputalism,” substituting the logic and rationality of these two tendencies with a strong interest in unexplained phenomena: visions of UFOs (Witness, 2000), near death experiences (Channels, 2013), and paranormal phenomena (Psi Girls, 1999). To explore these zones of great uncertainty she uses methods she learned from her training in anthropology, such as field research, collecting and classifying data and statements, comparison and analysis, presentations and expositions. These methods bestow greater credibility on her objects of study and, in turn, are pushed beyond their usual neutrality and objectivity by the extreme nature of the subject, becoming open to invention. “To enquire, and to transform, these are the leitmotifs that run throughout Hiller’s œuvre,” observes English curator James Lingwood. Transformation here means a lot more than organising and analysing. Hiller says that she chose art in order to substitute the imaginary for the factual, and also to renounce the distance of the supposedly external, detached observer in order to “be inside all her activities.” For distance is probably one of the major questions running through her work. She grounds this in everyday experience the better to bring out the unknown (disappearing languages in The Last Silent Movie, 2007-8), the inaccessible (the radio waves from the Big Bang in Resounding Ultra Violet, 2014), and the unexplained. In this way she questions the limits of experience in a highly effective reflexive process whereby the viewer has a very internalised and personal mental and sensorial experience of each installation. Many of her works of the last two decades do without images, using only sounds and speech. Those languages that are dying out seem that much closer to us because we only hear the words and their translation: the speaker is not physically present, nor do we see their more or less picturesque environment. The same goes for the visions of UFOs: their oral description is given form only by the memory and imagination of the listener. This deepens their impact. In this way the archive patiently built up by Hiller the collector suddenly comes alive.

Susan Hiller was born in 1940 in Tallahassee (United States). She works and lives in London. She had her first exhibition there at the Gallery House in 1973. She had solo shows at the ICA in 1986 and Tate Liverpool in 1996, before her major retrospective at Tate Britain in 2011. She represented the UK at the Havana Biennial in 2007. Her works are held in many private and public collections around the world.

Some hundred television screens are assembled to form a wall. Some of the screens show coloured light (between blue and grey) while others show lines on oscilloscopes. We hear buzzing and sputtering sounds as well as voices speaking in different languages but, as it happens, of the same kind of experiences: near-death moments. The installation touches us both by the content of the testimony – coming close to the unknowable beyond – and by the vibrations and textures of these voices that are one of Susan Hiller’s preferred materials. Disembodied, these are the voices of revenants in the strict sense, almost of phantoms.

History is more inclined to remember the first talkie (The Jazz Singer, 1927) than the end of silent movies – one invention drives out another. Susan Hiller chose to make “the last silent movie” – a film that, as its title indicates, speaks of extinction, and in a highly paradoxical way, because it is made up primarily of sound. It consists of a series of recordings of voices speaking in languages threatened with extinction, while on the black screen we see the names of the languages and the translation of the words. Their presence resonates within us all the more intensely in that they reach us free of any picturesque elements, or even the body of the speaker. These salvaged snatches question the march of history and the forgetting that accompanies it.

“I am interested in the spectral dimension, in the strange, and in the shadowy element that emanates from recorded sounds, because you can’t distinguish between the voices of those who have long been dead and those of the living.” Sounds with different frequencies and origins are superposed here, echoing or blurring each other in a reconstitution of the emissions of gravitational waves that accompanied the formation of the universe, recordings of periodic signals of variable stars, messages in Morse code emitted during an experience of waking dreams, recordings of broadcasts by numbers stations, stories about UFOs. Combined with blurred, desynchronised images, visualisations of audio signals, they suggest interfaces or even aberrations, in which we find ourselves imagining messages from distant spatio-temporal places.

Today's News

June 2, 2014

American artist Susan Hiller opens exhibition at the Abattoirs Museum in Toulouse

From Rauschenberg to Jeff Koons: The eye of Ileana Sonnabend on view in Venice

Sotheby's Beijing Spring Sale and selling exhibition 2014 attracts new Chinese bidders and buyers

Flowing Transition: Old Masters to be presented at the Neue Pinakothek in Munich

Frenchman Mehdi Nemmouche 'admits to' Brussels Jewish Museum shooting in video recording

"Cecil Beaton at Home: Ashcombe & Reddish" on view at the Salisbury Museum

OstLicht Galerie für Fotografie opens exhibition of works by David LaChapelle

Ethan Allen introduces rare and collectible lithographs with Modern Masters Collection

New book from Flammarion offers insight into Gustav Dore's life and prolific body of work

"Tea and Wine: A Shared Passion" exhibition at the Yishu 8 gallery opens in Beijing

First exhibition to explore the Jewish contribution to Modernism on view in San Francisco

Railwayana including the collection of Michael Max offered at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions

Group exhibition at San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art explores dynamics of art and technology

Snarkitecture X Beats collaborate to turn studio headphone into exclusive, limited edition piece of art

Artists Thomas Grünfeld and Gary Hume collaborate in new exhibition at Massimo De Carlo

First solo exhibition in Berlin by the artist Mehtap Baydu opens at Berlinartprojects

Nick van Woert's first solo show in Italy opens at MAMbo - Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna

Frank Loveland collection offered collectors 'many brass rings' at Bertoia's $1.95M Spring auction

China seeks to wipe Tiananmen from popular memory

The Indecent Eye: Marco Sanges exhibits at Hay Hill Gallery

"Rozanne Hawksley: War and Memory" opens at the Royal Museums Greenwich

A lifetime's collection of over 1,000 lots go under the hammer in Bonhams Michael Banfield Sale

"Palaces of The Seas: The Golden Age of French Ocean Liners" exhibition opens in Hong Kong

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- The Mummy poised to reclaim its title as the world's most expensive film poster

2.- Money museum showcases 1943 Cent valued at $1 million

3.- Is Robin Cunningham the Mysterious and Unknown Grafitti Artist Banksy?

4.- Freeman's autumn jewelry auction set to dazzle

5.- Phoenix Art Museum presents never-before-seen artifacts from Teotihuacan

6.- Sotheby's breaks auction record for any bottle of wine twice in one sale

7.- Buyer of shredded Banksy work goes through with deal

8.- The Frick Pittsburgh opens a major exhibition of works by Isabelle de Borchgrave

9.- Prime Minister Mark Rutte gives a history lesson in the Rijksmuseum

10.- Paris finds spot for controversial Jeff Koons tribute

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful