Belsay Hall

'The Yellow Wallpaper'

Artist: Susan Philipsz

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 the past three decades Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens has been the inspiration for many contemporary artists and designers. This activity has been presented in a major programme of contemporary art in heritage projects: Living at Belsay (1996); Sitooteries (2000); Sitting Pretty (2002); Fashion at Belsay (2004); Picture House (2007); and Extraordinary Measures (2010).
For her own commission at Belsay, The Yellow Wallpaper, Susan Philipsz created a new sound installation that permeated through the empty Hall. Song lyrics from a ballad titled ‘The Unquiet Grave’ were heard emanating from the chimney flues within the rooms, while a separate installation, The Shallow Sea, was presented within the cellar. The spectral overlapping sound of Philipsz’ voice filled and reverberated around the spaces in the Hall, reinforcing a sense of ‘unquiet’.
The Yellow Wallpaper was presented from 20 July - 16 September 2018.
Susan Philipsz is a Scottish artist, now based in Berlin, who works with architecture and public spaces, narrative and sounds. Most of her projects use recordings of her own untrained singing voice, often reworking songs drawn from traditional folk or contemporary song lyrics. Philipsz has exhibited internationally, including recent commissions for the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. In 2010 Philipsz was the winner of the prestigious Turner Prize award.