Interview: Hanne Lippard
Aug 30 – Oct 21, 2018

Hanne Lippard

Kunsthall Stavanger is proud to present Ulyd, a solo exhibition by Hanne Lippard with accompanying performances. Lippard has been using language as the raw material for her work for the last eight years, processing it in the form of texts, vocal performances, sound installations, printed objects and sculpture. Her work takes its place in a rich history of the performative use of the voice, and the linguistic deconstruction of language, whose genealogy is found both in the fields of music, spoken word, theatre, sound poetry, and art.

On September 22, 2018 she will perform Mid-Afternoon Slump live in a cabin onboard the ship Hurtigruten off the coast of Norway as part of Coast Contemporary. Closing performance for Ulyd with  Hanne Lippard & Bendik Giske will take place October 20, 2018, 7 pm at Kunsthall Stavanger.

Below, Lippard answers our questions about her views on the voice as artistic medium, the production of language, and the intricacies of human communication.

 

Hanne Lippard / ars viva 2016, Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft, Berlin. Photo ONUK

Your work takes many forms: performance, sound installation, video, books and other printed matter. This variety of formats asks for a different level of engagement with the audience. How do you think about the viewer when you’re creating a new artwork?

Hanne Lippard: I always find it interesting to consider the word ‘viewer’ in relation to my work, as it is predominantly an experience of listening. Although neither is exclusive to the other, as my work exists in both realms, also when it is read in a book, or presented as a pure sound installation without the presence of my own body but its voice. In my work I reflect upon the connection between the body, and language in a broad sense. I often think about the body of the recipient, whether it is a reader, viewer or listener, and how my work resonates in their presence of my work. What do I physically touch upon without performing an actual human contact, but rather by using language and sound?

 

Installation view / Fri Art, Kunsthalle Fribourg and Max Reitmeier

One might be forgiven for assuming your background is in literature, but I understand you actually studied graphic design at the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. What lead you to audio and performance works, and what kind of relationship do you have with the literary field?

Hanne Lippard: Graphic design is often connected to style, but I found myself more interested in communication and the rhythm of language rather than certain visual aesthetics of the trade. My relationship to language is a constant reflection on the differences between spoken and written language, and graphic design was my entry point to an understanding of how this could be performed without being placed into literature, design or even theatre, but rather something in between. That in between turned out to be an artistic practice.

 

Reading for fans, KW Performance documentation, 2014. Photo Joanna Szproch

Much of your work is about communication and the production of language. In your sound works, how important is the voice itself: do you consider it a tool, or subject matter in itself, or both? 

Hanne Lippard: It is a very exposed artistic practice, as I am carrying the ‘working tool’ with me daily. Most artists find themselves constantly in their professional ‘role’, both in their research and thoughts, however I believe artists who use their bodies in the work are subject to this on a higher level. I do make a distinction between the reading voice as an act, or a performance, and the one with which I talk to my friends or order a coffee in a bar. The interesting thing is that the use of the voice is always individual acts adapted to the situation; although the language differs, also the tone of voice I use when I call the tax office, is very different from that which I use when I call my family.

 

Installation view / Fri Art, Kunsthalle Fribourg and Max Reitmeier

In your piece Ancientism, there’s a line that reads, “Every word when said with the right tone can become a piece of poetry.” And indeed your work often involves ordinary or mundane words and scenarios. Can you describe how you think about something becoming poetry?

Hanne Lippard: I think it is a bit like the naive idea that inspiration can be found in the smallest details, which I find to be particularly true when it comes to poetry and using language as a tool in ones artistic practice. Using mundane or relatable fragments of language connects back to the idea of resonating with the body of the listener/viewer and their own experience of language. The texts might seem autobiographical and confessional at times, but they are in fact often narratives belonging to others, existing or invented bodies. Although I work with one voice, I want to display not only one personality in my work, but many.

You recently published a new book, This Embodiment, which collects works related to your exhibitions and performances over the last several years. How do you approach translating work from performances and exhibitions into a book format?

Hanne Lippard: I see both this book and the former one published with Broken Dimanche Press, Nuances of No, as a post-script work. Unlike some authors or poets who write towards the end point of a book, the book is compiled from texts which I have used over the years for performances and sound-installations, a kind of retrospective insight to my own practice. It seems to happen with an interval of three to four years…

 

Hanne Lippard / Interviewed by By Heather Jones
See the original interview on Kunsthall Stavanger >

Hanne Lippard / Ulyd
August 30 – October 21, 2018 / Kunsthall Stavanger
Closing performance by Hanne Lippard & Bendik Giske: Saturday October 20, 2018, 7 pm.
Please visit the exhibition page >

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