Susan Philipsz

War Damaged Musical Instruments

War Damaged Musical Instruments by Susan Philipsz

Artwork Detail

Turner Prize-winning, Berlin-based artist Susan Philipsz creates outstanding sound pieces in public spaces and galleries. Using the human voice – often her own, sometimes with her sisters – and musical instruments, she has created a repertoire of sound interventions that activate space to create sonic-spatial encounters which enter the ears, minds and hearts of her audiences.

For War Damage Musical Instruments, Philipsz gathered instruments from military museums in Britain and Germany that together represent 200 years of conflict. She then asked musicians to resuscitate them, to play them to the best of their ability and instrumental capacity. Recording each instrument as if it were a solo participant, asking each musician to play the basic bugle notes of C-G-C-E-G, Philipsz has been able to construct an ensemble playing. Rasping, halting, failing, the little musical bodies crack and falter with effort and yet they fulfil their mission. A fractured rendition of ‘The Last Post’ lives in the haunting music. Philipsz has breathed life back into these tubular things and set free memories and commemorations which will be encountered by generations to come.

War Damaged Musical Instruments
Susan Philipsz
Production date
6 channel sound installation
13min 41sec
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Friends of the Auckland Art Gallery, 2020
Accession no
Other ID
X2020/9 Former Exhibition Number
Copying restrictions apply
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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