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Artists' Choices - Susan Hiller: A Work in Progress

July 26, 2010-January 8, 2011
Location: Bella and Harry Wexner Gallery
Artist: Susan Hiller and others
Curator: Susan Hiller and Kobi Ben Meir
Media: Mixed media
The installation Susan Hiller has created through her choices, mainly from the Museum’s collections of modern and contemporary art, proposes an associative journey. The selected works move from one concept to another, a visual externalization of her state of mind. When juxtaposed, resonant and evocative, they weave a personal story. The story has not been determined from the outset by one subject; it is a process that occurs as new threads come together: life, death, and decay, memory and oblivion, texts, flowers, the color red, and women’s art.

As she does in her own art, Hiller the curator-artist relates to elements of culture, history, and politics embedded in objects and in artworks. Her method of displaying her choices is not guided by the pieces’ original geographic or chronological context. As a result, the residue of the cultures in which they were created and the meaning they held in the past is sublimated into the meaning and relevance they achieve in their context here and now.

A fresh, supple, open discourse emerges; something new comes into being; layers of interpretation are born. It is not only the works’ visual and textual interaction that redefines context, it is also the perspective of the visitor who brings something of herself or himself to the experience at that particular moment. Susan Hiller deliberately engages viewers in the process of reinterpretation, through their own insights and associations. For as long as the exhibition stands, her work continues to be in progress.

Born in the United States in 1940, Susan Hiller has been living and working in London since the beginning of the 1970s. Her early work infused Minimalism and Conceptual art with a strong awareness of gender issues, and her multidisciplinary practice encompasses video, sculpture, drawing, photography, performance, installation, and text. Before turning to art, Hiller pursued graduate studies in anthropology. Her background in this area manifests itself in her artworks, many of which revolve around objects and loci laden with cultural significance. Her interest, as an artist, in the cultural implications of museums, collecting, and curatorship has resulted in a number of exhibitions, among them her 1994 installation at the Freud Museum in London. Some of the prototypes for the memory boxes she created for that installation were acquired by the Israel Museum and may be seen on this floor in the modern art galleries.

Susan Hiller’s work as artist and teacher has influenced generations of young British artists. She has published numerous books and articles, has had solo exhibitions at major venues worldwide, and is represented in the collections of such institutions as the Ludwig Museum, Cologne; Tate, London; and Centre Pompidou, Paris; as well as The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.