Philipp Lachenmann: DELPHI Rationale


Susan Philipsz: Part File Score

06.01.2014, Berlin | On January 31, 2014, the Hamburger Bahnhof will open an exhibition in its Historical Hall that is entirely devoted to concentrated listening. The Scottish artist Susan Philipsz has created a 24-channel sound installation that makes reference both to the building’s former function as a train station and to the hall’s architectural structure with its 12 archways. Philipsz links the former train station – as a site of departure and arrival, of separation and return – to the turbulent life of composer Hanns Eisler (1898-1962) who lived in Berlin in the 1920s and again in the 1950s.

Historical Hall Hamburger Bahnhof


Presse Release as PDF

Following an artistic principle she last applied to Study for Strings, a work presented at the dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, each tone of the compositions was recorded seperately in the studio. In the installation, the tones are distributed among the 24 loudspeakers installed along the entire length of the historic grand industrial hall. With this sound work and its accompanying twelve prints, in which pages of Eisler’s scores are superimposed with pages from his FBI files, Philipsz seeks an approach to Eisler’s aesthetic of the displaced form so as to evoke themes such as life’s journey and the experience of separation and displacement.

Hanns Eisler, who emigrated to the United States in the 1930s and reluctantly had to leave the country again in 1948 because of his pro-Communist convictions, wrote twelve-tone-music, but was also interested in “popular” genres such as stage and film music. He composed numerous songs, including songs for workers’ choirs and international labor movement rallies, and, in 1949, the national anthem of the GDR.

Dealing with musical and literary models and specific historical constellations, Susan Philipsz (b. 1965 in Glasgow), winner of the prestigious Turner Prize in 2010, works primarily with the medium of sound. Based in Berlin since 2001, the artist frequently uses well-known songs and pop songs that she performs and records in her own voice to create an acoustic environment in dialogue with the specific exhibition site or urban space. More recently, she has increasingly worked with instrumental compositions and acoustic material such as field recordings or radio signals, redacting and staging them for a specific location following intensive research.

Since Susan Philipsz’s work at the interface of the visual arts and music fits perfectly with our grant-making focus, the Ernst Schering Foundation supports the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition in Berlin.

Susan Philipsz
Part File Score

24-Channel Sound Installation
Opening: January 31, 2014, 8:00 p.m.
Duration: February 1 – May 4, 2014
Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum for Contemporary Art – Berlin / Historical Hall
Berlin State Museums
Invalidenstr. 50-51
10557 Berlin

Accompanying Program: Artist talk with Susan Philipsz

Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 7 p.m.
Hamburger Bahnhof
Admission free.
The exhibition is open until 7 p.m.


Ingrid Buschmann and Gabriele Knapstein

Introduction to the film music compositions of Hanns Eisler with film excerpts
with Peter Deeg and Johannes C. Gall (in German)

Susan Philipsz in conversation with Martin Herbert
(in English)

The exhibition by Susan Philipsz is part of Musikwerke Bildender Künstler (Works of Music by Visual Artists), a series of events that has been organized since 1999 by Freunde Guter Musik Berlin in cooperation with the National Gallery and, since 2002, with MaerzMusik – Festival of Contemporary Music of the Berliner Festspiele.
With support from the Capital Culture Fund and the Ernst Schering Foundation.

Ingrid Buschmann / Freunde Guter Musik Berlin e.V.
Gabriele Knapstein / Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum for Contemporary Art – Berlin

More information at:

Photo 1: Historical Hall, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum for Contemporary Art – Berlin

Photos 2-4: Opening Susan Philipsz - Part File Score
Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, 31.1.14
© Freunde Guter Musik Berlin/Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Photos: Sebastian Bolesch

Eröffnung Susan Philipsz - Part File Score



Eröffnung Susan Philipsz - Part File Score



Eröffnung Susan Philipsz - Part File Score


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