Glasgow-born artist Susan Philipsz has scooped the top prize for her work, which features her singing three versions of a Scottish lament. The artist, who is the fourth woman to win the award, said she was “very honoured” as she collected her £25,000 prize.
Her work centres around recordings of her voice singing folk songs over public address systems. She recorded three versions of Lowlands Away – a song about of a man drowned at sea who returns to tell his lover of his death – for her installation.
The piece was first performed beneath three bridges over the River Clyde in Glasgow, but for the past two months, the work has been playing in an empty room at Tate Britain.
Penelope Curtis, chair of the judging panel, praised Philipsz’s work, stating: “Susan’s presentation, both in Glasgow and in the way it transferred to the Tate, was quite extraordinary.
“The way she’s managed to make you look at things differently by hearing things differently is really quite exceptional.”
And speaking to the BBC, Philipsz said that winning the award had “not really sunk in yet”.
“It’s fantastic – I’m extremely happy to have won it, but it’s been a wonderful experience to be nominated and these past few months have been great,” she said.
Meanwhile, Channel 4’s news culture editor Matthew Cain said the win may be the catalyst for an increase in the number of sound art installations.
“The high-profile win for Susan Philipsz might just build this up to the tipping point needed for sound art to really take off,” he explained.
Philipsz managed to beat off strong competition from Dexter Dalwood, Angela de la Cruz and The Otolith Group to take the accolade.
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