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Current Exhibition

21/09/2019 - 31/07/2025

SUSAN PHILIPSZ

Quetzal Art Center is proud to present Susan Philipsz’s site-specific sound installations Tomorrow’s Sky (2019) and Sleep Close and Fast (2019). The works have been commissioned by Cees and Inge de Bruin-Heijn to support Artangel’s Artists for Artangel fund for future projects.

Over the past two decades, Turner Prize-Winning artist 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.

Tomorrow’s Sky, 2019

THREE CHANNEL SOUND INSTALLATION
QUINTA DO QUETZAL VINEYARD *

About her piece Tomorrow’s Sky, a three channel sound installation Susan Philipsz says:

“The Quetzal bird is the symbol of the vineyard and a feature of the surrounding landscape is its emptiness and silence. I imagine the bird conjured through the sound, spreading its wings over the landscape and the sound and the landscape merging together.

There are two traditional English rounds that I have intertwined to create a contemporary resonance. Hey, Ho, Nobody Home and Ah Poor Bird are both anonymous and date as far back as medieval times. They have been set to music by the English composer Thomas Ravenscroft and appear in his collection of canons and rounds Pamellia (1609).

A lone voice is joined by another and another, each voice coming from the three trees at the top of the vineyard at Quinta do Quetzal. These disembodied voices merge and overlap creating an abstract pattern of sound and movement that slowly reveals itself. The first two voices sing Hey, Ho, Nobody Home, a canon dedicated to a wandering subject, possibly a gypsy, who has little yet will still be very merry. ‘Hey, Ho, Nobody home, Meat nor drink nor money have I none, Yet will I be very merry.’ The third voice joins the round singing Ah Poor Bird. This round can be interpreted as a lament for the sorrows of the earth, mourning a life lying in the shadows that should be set free. The lyrics move through the sorrows ‘Of this dark hour’ on to hope for freedom and a new beginning. ‘Can you see the dawn/ Of tomorrows sky?’ There is an optimistic and open end to the round, which reprises and begins to circle the listener once again. ‘Ah, poor bird, Why art thou, Lying in the shadows, Of this dark hour, Ah, poor bird, Take thy flight, Far above the sorrows, Of this sad night, Ah, poor bird, As you fly, Can you see the dawn, Of tomorrows sky?’”

* Opposite the Art Center on top of the hill with the three trees.
The sound installation starts every ten minutes.

Sleep Close and Fast, 2019

SINGLE CHANNEL SOUND INSTALLATION
QUINTA DO QUETZAL WINERY 

The thought of Sleep Close and Fast, 2019, a single channel sound installation, is born after Susan heard that the barrels of wine at Quetzal have music played to them when they are resting.

Susan Philipsz : “I thought this was a beautiful idea and I immediately thought of singing a lullaby to the barrels.”

From September 2019 – July 2020, a special presentation of five recorded lullabies from cult films, operas and literature is sung by the artist and played through the existing speaker system in the wine cellar every two minutes.

Recorded lullabies: Elias Lönnrot, The Kanteletar, 1840 (Lullaby) | Roman Polanski, Rosemary’s Baby, 1968 (Sleep, Safe and Warm) | Alexis Kivi, Seven Brothers, 1870 (Song of my Heart) Robin Hardy, The Wicker Man, 1973 (Lullaby) Engelbert Humperdink, Hansel and Gretel, 1893 (Evening Prayer)

Link to biography Susan Philipsz