This week sees the final weekend of the Susan Hiller show, and as a grand finale, a day-long conference looking at Susan’s diverse practice and some of the recurring themes in her work will take place this Saturday.
I met up with Nora Razian who has been curating the conference to get an insight into what goes into an event like this.
I’ve been planning this conference for four months now, working very closely with Susan herself and Ann Gallagher, the show’s curator. We always knew we were interested in exploring the concepts of the cultural unconscious, the censored and the repressed, as these link so closely with the themes you find in many of Susan’s works, such as Sisters of Menon 1972; 1979, Belshazzar’s Feast 1983, and Magic Lantern 1987.
We’re really pleased with the speakers coming to talk about Susan’s work - she is a very popular artist amongst artists so we were spoilt for choice! The co-editor of frieze, Jörg Heiser, will explore the question of how Susan Hiller’s work unravels the conundrums of both fetishism and conceptualism in art, while Guy Brett, critic and curator, will present a surprise paper, titled Where there’s light there’s dark. Dr. Alexandra Kokoli, Lecturer in Critical and Contextual Studies at Gray’s School of Art will be looking at automatism in Susan’s work, tracing the ways in which artworks reveal uncomfortable and fascinating home truths by conjuring up the censored or overlooked aspects of the familiar. Berlin-based critic and frieze contributing editor Jan Verwoert and California-based Professor John Welchman will also be speaking, so it’s a packed programme.
As we were keen for this conference to be about experiences, we’re structuring it differently. Instead of being focused on the auditorium, audience members will be able to attend a short, in-gallery talk from one of the speakers. This will give us a great chance to take an intimate look at works in the exhibition, as well as really discuss these works in depth with the speakers and other attendees.
I’m really looking forward to this conference as it brings together a great line up of international speakers who will offer new and deep insights into Susan’s diverse and probing practice. I’m also excited about the gallery talks, and getting a chance to see these speakers talk in front of the artworks.