Some considerations on the question of sculpture: matter, materials, new materialisms

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev
Leverhulme Institute lecture, Leeds Art Gallery
21st May 2014
Leeds Art Gallery, 6-7pm

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev and Susan Philipsz
Helsinki, 2010

This lecture by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (Leverhulme Visiting Professor, University of Leeds, 2013-14) considers the questions of matter, materials and new materialisms within the field of sculpture. With a response from the artist Susan Philipsz.

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev is an author, an organiser of events and exhibitions and a researcher into artistic practices, the histories of art and the politics of aesthetics. She is the Edith Kreeger Wolf Distinguished Visiting Professor in Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University, Evanston (2013-2015). She has received the Leverhulme Professorship from the University of Leeds for 2014. She was Artistic Director of dOCUMENTA (13) from 2009-12. Her books include William Kentridge (1998), Arte Povera (1999), and for dOCUMENTA (13) the 100 Notes - 100 Thoughts series as well asThe Logbook and The Book of Books (2011-12).

Over the past two decades, Susan Philipsz has explored the psychological and sculptural potential of sound. Using recordings, predominantly of her own voice, the artist creates immersive environments of architecture and song that heighten the visitor's engagement with their surroundings while inspiring thoughtful introspection. The music Philipsz selects - which has ranged from sixteenth century ballads and Irish folk tunes to David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust - responds specifically to the space in which the work is installed. While each piece is unique, the storylines and references are often recognizable, exploring familiar themes of loss, longing, hope, and return. These universal narratives trigger personal reactions while also temporarily bridging the gaps between the individual and the collective, as well as interior and exterior spaces.

Born in 1965 in Glasgow, Philipsz currently lives and works in Berlin. She received a BFA in Sculpture from Duncan of Jordanstone College in Dundee, Scotland in 1993, and an MFA from the University of Ulster in Belfast in 1994. In 2000, she completed a fellowship at MoMA PS1 in New York. Recipient of the 2010 Turner Prize, the artist was also shortlisted for Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award that same year.

In 2012 Philipsz debuted a major work at dOCUMENTA 13 entitled Study for Strings, which was later featured at the Museum of Modern Art as part of the group exhibition, Soundings: A Contemporary Score (2013).