LOWLANDS – Sound Sculptor Susan Philipsz Wins the Turner Prize

by Red Cell

Scottish born, Berlin based, sound artist and sculptor, Susan Philipsz, has won the U.K.’s highest contemporary art award, the Turner Prize, an award given to emerging artists under 50 for “an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the 12 months preceding.” Philipsz won the award for her Aural Sculptures, “Lowlands”, three different a cappella recordings of the 16th-century Scottish lament “Lowlands Away” installed in the Tate Britain in an empty white room on three separate black speakers. This work stems from her similar piece earlier this year where she installed the song under three bridges in Glasgow.

Below if the rough cut of the final film that was submitted to the Turner Art Committee for judgment. Filmed under the George V bridge by the River Clyde in Glasgow. Filmed and produced by 47 Film.


While the televised live honor was given to Philipsz at the Tate Britain, outside the partitions one could hear about 50 protesters quite loudly shouting that the Tate, “would be empty without art schools” and that education “should be free for all, not a product for purchase,” in protest of the current government cuts in education spending. Philipsz commented, “My heart goes out to them.” The Tate organizes the award, and the director of Tate Britain heads the jury.

Philipsz does not consider herself primarily a sound artist saying about her past as a a sculptor, “I’ve studied fine art and only ever exhibited within a visual-arts context.” Even so, she has done other well known sound works like her 1998, work “Filter”, consisting of versions of songs by Nirvana, Marianne Faithfull, Radiohead and The Velvet Underground, has been played at a bus station and at a Tesco supermarket and her 1999 work “The Internationale” consists of a solo acapella version of the revolutionary song. Click here to read more about here and her works.

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