Susan Philipsz: The Distant Sound: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

September 6 - October 20, 2012
Installation Views
Press release

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is very pleased to present The Distant Sound, an exhibition by Susan Philipsz that combines multiple channel sound installation, photography, and film. In these new works, Philipsz builds upon her recent presentation for dOCUMENTA 13, using a series of instrumental tracks to shape the gallery's space and immerse the visitor in sound. Each of the auditory and visual fragments that compose the show is powerfully evocative, and together the pieces combine to create an intangible but perceptible sense of distance, separation, and loss.


The exhibition takes its title from the 1910 opera, Der ferne Klang, or The Distant Sound, by the Austrian composer Franz Schreker. In Schreker's work, a composer is haunted by an ethereal noise that he tries all his life to capture. It is only on his deathbed that he realizes the sound has been around him all the time, in the rhythmic textures of modern life. In Philipsz's installation, bits of the score for the horns, strings, and chimes from Schreker's opera are disassembled and transcribed so that each note comes from its own speaker. Abstracting the individual notes from the composition as a whole transforms the music into sound and creates an open-endedness that allows the ambient noises of the space to intermingle with the work.

All installation images above: Photo by Jean Vong