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Troubling Presence: body, sound and space in installation art of the mid-1990s

Cherry, Deborah (2001) Troubling Presence: body, sound and space in installation art of the mid-1990s. Revue d'Art Canadienne (Canadian Art Journal), 25 (1-2). pp. 12-30. ISSN 03159906 [Historical and Philosophical studies > History of Art]
Creators:Cherry, Deborah

This essay in a peer-reviewed international journal, published by the Association of Art Historians of Canada, was written to address the prominence of sound in installation art of the 1990s. The essay takes as its starting point a complex installation of images, objects and sounds created by the Glaswegian-Ghanaian artist, Maud Sulter, for the Harris Museum in Preston, and reinstalled, with slight variations, at other venues.

Based on detailed research in archives and collections, the essay considers the inter-relations between the various components of the installation, and through comparison with other contemporaneous installation pieces by artists including Cornelia Parker, Mona Hatoum and Chila Kumari Burman, it offers an innovative analysis of the ways in which sound shapes the perceptions and experience of the beholders of art, interacting with the physical and material properties of the spaces of installation. Taking issue with more recent theories of participation and social action, the essay argued that through sound, beholders enter the work of art, becoming complicit in it, whether they wish to or not. Moreover, the essay also challenges recent debates about sound in art, providing an rigorously analytical and innovative analysis of sound’s supplementarity to vision, founded on a reading of Derrida’s 'Restitutions', to argue that sound both adds to and displaces the visual experience, unsettling and even undoing ocular forms of perception.

Type of Research:Article
Additional Information (Publicly available):

Deborah Cherry: Current Research

I am Associate Director of TrAIN, the research centre for the practice and study of transnational art, identity and nation. I am also a co-director of Critical Curating, a research network and project established between Central Saint Martins, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the University of Sussex which is investigating the nature of curating both contemporary art and historical art and design, and the place of curating in research.
My research interests are at present focused on a study of contemporary art and the senses, relations between the senses, the prominence given to and turns away from the visual, and the implications of post-colonial, transnational and diaspora studies.
I am the editor of Art History, the Journal of the Association of Art Historians, a Membre Titulaire of the Comité International d'Histoire de l'Art, and a panel member of panel 2 of the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Your affiliations with UAL:Research Centres/Networks > Transnational Art Identity and Nation (TrAIN)
Colleges > Chelsea College of Art and Design
Date:01 June 2001
Funders:Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
ID Code:1390
Deposited On:04 Dec 2009 00:08
Last Modified:23 Aug 2010 16:27
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