Onement 67 by Judith Ann Brown
It is an indication of the range and scope of Susan Hiller’s works that this talk struggles somewhat in focus and theme. Neverthless, it is an insightful exploration of a complex, multi-layered, forceful and innovative woman. A woman whose anthropological roots clearly carry over into her artistic practices, giving voice to the day-to-day and those traditionally with no voice.
The two works that had the biggest impact on me from the 2011 Tate exhibition were “10 Months” and “Witness.” The first is a deceptively simple portrayal of pregnancy which invites us to notice and make sense of the minutiae of changes that occur on the road to motherhood with reference to the much larger cycles of universal fertility. “Witness 2000” is a magically immersive take on storytelling, blurring the lines between the real and imaginary, demonstrating the universal longing for spiritual meaning.
Hiller has a wonderful gift for making the everyday special and the special everyday. Her focus on ephemeral cultural objects, such as postcards and bottles, is a magnificent way of foregrounding important themes all of which she feels have been relegated from the dominant narrative. I love the way she plays with social facts, the subconscious and levels of reality.