Follow mysterious voice in empty rooms of historic hall

Credit and Copyright �: Colin Davison'+44 (0)7850 609 340''
Credit and Copyright �: Colin Davison'+44 (0)7850 609 340''

Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens is to be once again transformed by contemporary art this summer — this time by the haunting and lyrical voice of Turner Prize winning artist Susan Philipsz.

Philipsz has created a new sound-based installation, titled The Yellow Wallpaper, which opens on Friday and runs until September 16.

The installation features the artist’s solitary and lilting voice that curls through the rooms of the hall, coaxing the visitor to follow it.

Multi-layered and emitting mysteriously, the visitor becomes aware of the dark lyrics of this beautifully sung ballad, The Unquiet Grave.

A separate installation, entitled The Shallow Sea, can be heard from within the cellar.

The spectral overlapping sound of Philipsz’ voice fills and reverberates around the spaces in the Hall, reinforcing a sense of ‘unquiet’.

‘Unquiet’ was the prompt for the artist when she visited Belsay last year.

She said: “When I visited Belsay Hall for the first time I was struck by the atmosphere in the upper bedrooms. The downstairs rooms are grand and airy, but the rooms on the first floor have a different mood.

“The smaller empty rooms and peeling wallpaper combine to produce an image of domestic abandonment. There is a tension that is palpable, but undefined.”

The Yellow Wallpaper has been commissioned by English Heritage, with funding from Arts Council England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The new work forms part of Mapping Contemporary Art in the Heritage Experience, a collaborative research project based at Newcastle and Leeds universities that critically examines the value and practice of visual art commissioning within heritage sites managed by English Heritage, the National Trust, Arts and Heritage and the Churches Conservation Trust.

This is the first time Susan Philpsz has made new work for an historic building.

The Yellow Wallpaper opens to the public tomorrow and will run at the Hall throughout the summer until September 16.