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The Yellow Wallpaper

July 20, 2018 - September 16, 2018

The Yellow Wallpaper, is a new commission by Turner prize-winning artist Susan Philipsz for Belsay Hall in Northumberland.

Belsay Hall is a Greek-revival mansion designed and built by its owner Sir Charles Monck between 1809-17. It was inspired by the architecture that Sir Charles had seen whilst on honeymoon in Greece and it has been described as ’a building of austere perfection’. The hall passed into the guardianship of the state in 1980 and, ever since then, it has been open to the public without being refurnished.

Over this summer Phillipsz’s sound installation will permeate through the spaces of the empty Belsay Hall. Song lyrics from a ballad titled ‘The Unquiet Grave’ can be heard emanating from the chimney flues within the rooms, while a separate installation, The Shallow Sea, can be heard down in the cellar. The spectral overlapping sound of Philipsz’ voice of fills and reverberates around the spaces in the Hall, reinforcing a sense of ‘unquiet’.

The Yellow Wallpaper is part of a research project, ‘Mapping Contemporary Art in the Heritage Experience’, which is exploring how contemporary art might change visitors’ experience of a heritage site. As a group of researchers from Newcastle and Leeds Universities we are interested in finding out whether creating and siting new art in heritage places can change the ways in which these important places are understood and enjoyed.