September 17, 2012
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In 2010, Susan Philipsz recorded herself singing three different versions of the 16th century Scottish lament Lowlands Away, and installed speakers beneath three bridges over the River Clyde in her native Glasgow to play them. It made Philipsz the first Turner Prize nominee to use sound installation, and accordingly, Lowlands’ placement in the Turner prize exhibition was followed by an onslaught of negative criticism. The Independent’s Michael Glover called Lowlands “hype-cum hogwash,” and The Telegraph’s Richard Dorment condemned those who enjoyed the piece to “the ninth circle of art hell.”
We think those critics are wrong. The reason why they got it wrong, though, also cripples Phillipsz’s current exhibition The Distant Sound, at Tanya Bonakdar.