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Art Editorial

belsayart18.jpg Turner Prize winning artist Susan Philipsz!

Susan Philipsz is set to ‘take on’ the neo-classical mansion of Belsay Hall. What exactly does she mean?

It seems like you cannot turn around at the minute without someone or other transforming one of the region’s stately homes or gardens into a place that’s thrumming with contemporary art. But I think we can safely put Susan Philipsz beyond the “someone or other” category. She won the Turner Prize in 2010 with one of the most moving, and haunting, works that you’re ever likely to see – or, rather, hear. She works with sound and her piece at Belsay – The Yellow Wallpaper – features the artist’s solitary and lilting voice curing through the rooms of the hall, coaxing the visitor to follow it. Multi-layered and emitting mysteriously, the visitor becomes aware of the dark lyrics of this beautifully sung ballad: The Unquiet Grave. A separate installation – The Shallow Sea – can be heard from the cellar. The spectral overlapping sound of her voice fills and reverberates around the spaces in the Hall, reinforcing a sense of unquiet. Crikey. The piece – commissioned by English Heritage – is definitely this summer’s must-hear.

The Yellow Wallpaper, until 16 September, Belsay Hall Castle and Gardens, nr Morpeth, NE20 0DX. english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/belsay-hall-castle-and-gardens  

Photo credit: Colin Davison Photography