Internationally acclaimed, Turner Prize-winning artist Susan Philipsz’s sound installation, War Damaged Musical Instruments, is in Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki’s North Atrium until Sunday 29 November.

Originally developed to mark the centenary of World War I, War Damaged Musical Instruments, 2015 presents layered recordings of music played on brass and wind instruments damaged in armed conflicts over the last 200 years.

Based on the tones of the military bugle call, ‘The Last Post,’ sound is fragmented through the broken and battered instruments to the extent that it is almost unrecognisable. In some cases, the instruments have been so badly damaged that it is only the musician’s breath that remains audible.

Auckland Art Gallery Director Kirsten Paisley says, ‘‘‘The Last Post” was played to recall soldiers from the battle front – it announced it was safe to come home. This sound work carries a poignancy that will see the Gallery’s North Atrium become somewhere for people to contemplate, whether alone or by coming together with others.’

‘An important aspect of Philipsz’s work is the impact of location upon her installations and the resonance this creates for those listening. Many New Zealanders are strongly connected to the ANZAC legacy, and will find this work offers a unique opportunity for reflection on the devastating impact of war,’ says Paisley

Susan Philipsz has been working with the medium of sound for over three decades. Often starting with an existing musical piece, Philipsz’s work explores how sound can trigger memory and emotions and incorporates themes of loss, longing and hope. In 2010, she was the first artist to win the Turner Prize for a sound work.

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Last updated: 25 July 2020