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Introduction

Born in the USA in 1940, Susan Hiller has lived and worked in Britain since the early 1970s, when she became known for an innovative artistic practice excavating the overlooked or ignored aspects of our culture. Hiller has adopted and combined media in ways radical for their time and she is acknowledged as an important influence on younger generations of artists.

Hiller juxtaposes knowledge derived from anthropology, psychoanalysis and other scientific disciplines with materials generally considered unimportant, like postcards, wallpaper, popular movies and internet postings, balancing the familiar and the unexplained and inviting the viewer to participate in the creation of meaning. She collects and uses images, objects and sounds to create new contexts, incorporating traces of memory, personal associations and allusions to her earlier work. Her practice often incorporates subconscious processes, including dreaming, reverie, automatic writing and improvised vocalisations. Privileging the repressed, forgotten or unknown, Hiller confers status on what lies beyond rationality or recognition.

The present exhibition of Hiller’s work is the largest yet. The works survey the development of the interrelated themes she has explored over four decades. The subjective and collective possibilities of memory, language and imagination are examined in assemblages of material ranging from bookworks to multimedia installations.