Susan Philipsz (born 1965) is a Scottish artist. Philipsz was born in Glasgow. In her youth, she sang with her sisters in a Catholic church choir in Maryhill. She studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee from 1989–1993 and then at the University of Ulster in Belfast in 1993-4. She was a Director of Catalyst Arts in Belfast for several years. She currently lives and works in Berlin.
Originally a sculptor, she is best known for her sound installations. She records herself singing a cappella versions of songs which are replayed over a public address system in the gallery or other installation.
Her 1998, work "Filter", consisting of versions of songs by Nirvana, Marianne Faithfull, Radiohead and The Velvet Underground, has been played at a bus station and at a Tesco supermarket.] Her 1999 work "The Internationale" consists of a solo acapella version of the revolutionary song. She sings the Irish ballad "The Lass of Aughrim" in her 2000 work "The Dead". In her 2003 work "Sunset Song", she sings the male and female parts of the 19th-century American folk ballad Banks of the Ohio, with the volume level changing according to light levels.
She used a vibraphone for her 2009 piece "You are not alone", commissioned for the Radcliffe Observatory in Oxford.
In 2010, she was commissioned by the Glasgow International Festival. Her piece, "Lowlands", was three versions of the 16th-century Scottish lament Lowlands Away. It was played under three bridges over the River Clyde in Glasgow - George V Bridge, the Caledonian railway bridge, and Glasgow Bridge.. "Lowlands", was subsequently exhibited at Tate Britain, winning her the 2010 Turner Prize.
She has exhibited at the Melbourne International Biennial 1999, Manifesta 3 in Ljubljana in 2000, the Tirana Biennial in 2001, at Triennal of British Art at Tate Britain in 2003, the 16th Biennale of Sydney in 2008, and at the 55th Carnegie International in 2009. She gave a solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 2008.
She was commissioned to create a work for the rotunda at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2010.
She was nominated for the Beck's Futures award in 2003.
intro. Lowlands, lowlands, away my John!
Lowlands away I heard them say
My Lowlands away!
1. I dreamt a dream the other night
Ch. Lowlands, lowlands, away my John
I dreamt a dream the other night
Ch. My lowlands, away.
2. I dreamt I saw my own true love,
He stood so still, he did not move,
[Alternative line: His hair was wet, his eyes above]
3. I knew my love was drowned and dead,
He stood so still, no word he said.
4. All dank his hair, all dim his eye,
I knew that he had said goodbye.
5. All green and wet with weeds so cold,
Around his form green weeds had hold.
6. 'I'm drowned in the Lowland Seas,' he said,
'Oh, you an' I will ne'er be wed.'
7. 'I shall never kiss you more,' he said,
'Never kiss you more --- for I am dead.'
8. 'I will cut my breasts until they bleed.'
His form had gone --- in the green weed.
9, 'I will cut away my bonnie hair,
No other man will think me fair.'
10. I bound the weeper round my head,
For now I knew my love was dead.
11. My love is drowned in the windy Lowlands,
My love is drowned in the windy Lowlands,