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Susan Hiller

Born in 1940 in Tallahasse, Florida, USA. Died 2019

Hiller is an innovative and influential artist whose work is an exploration of aspects of human culture. Her undergraduate studies were at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts before taking a course on Film and Photography at the Cooper Union in New York followed by a degree in archaeology and linguistics at Hunter College. She went on to postgraduate studies with a National Science Foundation fellowship in anthropology at Tulane University in New Orleans.

She carried out anthropological fieldwork for some time in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize but became unsure about the adequacy of academic enquiry as a means of doing sufficient justice to the lived experience of people. Instead she resolved to become an artist, still exploring cultural beliefs but concentrating on language and cultural artefacts to reveal contradictions and ambiguities as well as irrational and mystical beliefs in human societies. She might be described as a conceptual artist though she describes her work as ‘paraconceptual’, combining the conceptual with the mystical or paranormal. Her practice involves a rich array of techniques and media including photographs, audio recordings, film and multiscreen video displays.

The body of work she has created over her forty-year career has received international acclaim, featured in major exhibitions throughout the UK, America and Europe; she is represented in numerous public collections including the Tate Gallery, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Pompidou Centre, Paris.

Small Study for Homage to Marcel Duchamp