The Fall | Susan Philipsz, 2021

Arts and heritage
'Sound is materially invisible but very visceral and emotive. It can define a space at the same time as it triggers a memory', Susan Philipsz. Music and architecture, history and melancholy: these are recurring elements in Susan Philipsz's work. For her first solo exhibition in the Netherlands, she filled the vast church space with a composition by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1561-1621). Sweelinck laid the foundation for public concerts in the Oude Kerk after the Reformation. The exhibition commemorated 400 years since he was buried here. Philipsz unravelled his four-part harpsichord piece 'Mein junges Leben hat ein End'. Separately, she sang the lines of soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. They resounded in the Oude Kerk from eight suspended silos. The closer you approached one of those pale green silos, the more clearly her untrained voice could be heard. Besides Sweelinck, French writer Albert Camus was also an inspiration for The Fall. His novel of the same name which reflects on the fall of man from the Garden of Eden is set in the surrounding Red Light District. For the Oude Kerk’s College Chamber, Philipsz created a second sound sculpture, titled Broken Ensemble. From three organ pipes which were arranged on a platform resonated sounds, as if they were sighs from hell.