Susan Philipsz

Susan Philipsz was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1965. Philipsz’s work explores the psychological and sculptural dimensions of sound, with recordings of her voice and a variety of reworked musical compositions. Interested in the power of sound to trigger emotion, Philipsz responds to the architecture and history of the spaces in which her pieces are installed; her works prompt introspection and an examination of personal and collective memories, losses, and yearnings.

Philipsz 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. Her awards and residencies include an Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Dundee, Scotland (2017); Turner Prize (2010); shortlist for Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award (2010); Kunst-Werke Berlin Artist Residency (2002); and MoMA PS1 Fellowship (2000). She has had major exhibitions at Hamburger Bahnhof (2014); Museum of Modern Art (2013); Carnegie Museum of Art (2013); documenta 13 (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2011); Institute of Contemporary Art, London (2008); 55th Carnegie International (2008); and Skulptur Projekte, Muenster (2007). Philipsz lives and works in Berlin.

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Conversation Starter

What does history sound like?

Some works of art are just as much about hearing as they are about seeing.


Sound can really act as a trigger for memory, then can bring you back to a particular place and time. I wanted to bring those voices from the past into the present.

Susan Philipsz