Susan Philipsz: War Damaged Musical Instruments


exhibition Details

 Experience the poignant sound work, War Damaged Musical Instruments, by acclaimed international artist, Susan Philipsz which will play daily, on the hour, every hour, in our North Atrium gallery space.

Turner Prize-winning, Berlin-based artist Susan Philipsz has been creating outstanding sound pieces in public spaces and galleries for over three decades. 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. 

To make War Damaged Musical Instruments Philipsz gathered brass 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.

Image credit:
War Damaged Musical Instruments, Altsaxophon (ruin), 2015
Collection Musikinstrumenten Museum Berlin

Auckland Art Gallery North Atrium