Susan Philipsz
Broken Ensemble: War Damaged Musical Instruments (brass section)
Public Preview: Friday 19 September, 6–8pm
20 September – 6 December 2014



Eastside Projects presents a new installation by Susan Philipsz — internationally acclaimed artist, 2010 Turner Prize winner and 2014 OBE recipient. The Berlin based artist has created an acoustic environment as a growing musical ensemble of battered, bullet holed and broken instruments unheard for a century or more.

Philipsz has made new recordings of the sounds produced from five brass musical instruments damaged in Germany during various conflicts, and since conserved in museum collections. Each of these instruments becomes a performer or member of the ‘“Broken Ensemble", formed for the first time in Eastside Projects.

Pursuing the sculptural qualities of objects, space and sound, the artist plans to grow the “Broken Ensemble" over time with new recordings being made of further musical instruments used in war over the coming years. During the exhibition, in October, a sixth recording will be made of the “Balaklava Bugle" used to sound the Charge of the light Brigade in the Crimean War in 1854. This sixth “voice" will then be added into the installation as a new performer, or member, shifting the musical score and character of Philipsz's “Broken Ensemble".

Over the past two decades Philipsz has investigated/ reimagined and rearranged musical and literary sources and specific historical constellations, often using familiar tunes and pop songs/ performed in her own voice and recorded. Recently in dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, and at hamburger Bahnof, Berlin she has made increasing use of instrumental compositions, reconstructing powerfully charged historical works through multi-channel sound installations.

“Broken Ensemble: War Damaged instruments (Brass Section) is Philipsz's first solo exhibition in the UK since winning the Turner Prize and exemplifies the artists commitment to exploring the psychological and sculptural potential of sound in relation to unique sites.

Photographs by Stuart Whipps, courtesy of Eastside Projects