13 February – 14 April 2013
Channels, Susan Hiller's fourth exhibition at Matt's Gallery, is a vast audio-sculptural installation in which disembodied voices report on 'near-death' experiences.
Hiller uses audio accounts in many languages from people who believe they have experienced death as the raw materials for her new work. Vivid stories of those who believe they have died and returned to tell the tale constitute a remarkable contemporary archive, whether the accounts are regarded as metaphors, misperceptions, myths, delusions or truth.
Near-death experiences (NDEs) have and continue to be studied intensively in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, neuro-physiology and hospital medicine. Studies are inconclusive and at times contradictory, offering various explanations for the phenomenon. Despite the lack of a harmonious scientific explanation, increasing numbers of ordinary people continue to report such experiences.
Hiller's interest in this subject matter is neither the advocacy nor the dispute of the anecdotal, traditional or scientific evidence for or against the 'reality' of NDEs, but in considering them as social facts, widely spread in time and space, as appropriate for the subject matter of art as Cezanne's apples or Schwitters' bus tickets.
Channels is an artwork designed to engage us in a consideration of some of the gaps and contradictions in our modern belief system and collective cultural life. It is not intended as a religious consolation nor 'new age' fantasy, but rather as a de-stabilising aesthetic device opening to the un-representable.
Hiller has a special relationship to Matt's Gallery where her exhibition in 1980 was one of the gallery's first; in 1991 Matt's Gallery commissioned the video installation An Entertainment (the first synchronised multi-screen video work made in Europe); and in 2008, the first London showing of The Last Silent Movie took place at the Gallery.
Susan Hiller is represented by Lisson Gallery, London and was represented by Timothy Taylor Gallery, London at the time of this exhibition.
Channels is generously supported by Arts Council England, The Henry Moore Foundation, CAF American Donor Fund (on behalf of an anonymous donor), Timothy Taylor Gallery, Integral Memory and Envirocom.
Further exhibitions at Matt’s Gallery
Ghost / TV
25 September – 27 October 2019
Rebecca Birch, Bronwen Buckeridge, David Cheeseman, Susan Hiller and Roy Voss
Blackrock Residency 2015
15 July – 19 September 2015
The Last Silent Movie
12 – 27 July 2008
19 – 31 January 1991
Work in Progress
23 April – 4 May 1980