Sigh | Sam Taylor-Johnson | Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa
Past exhibition

Sigh: Sam Taylor-Johnson

09.09.2016 - 12.11.2016

Since the 1990s, the photographs and video installations of British artist Sam Taylor-Johnson have explored the rawest human emotions, isolating and presenting them in fragmented ways by either deconstructing the narrative or, as in her work Sigh (2008), altering our perception of image and sound. Sigh is an audiovisual installation of eight projections in which different sections of the BBC Concert Orchestra seem to be playing the musical piece written specifically for this work by renowned composer Anne Dudley. Although the sound is clearly audible, the musicians are not playing their instruments but merely mimicking the gestures and motions of musical performance. The fact that the musicians are missing the tools of their trade creates a sense of vulnerability while also underscoring the importance of the bodily movements involved in playing an instrument. To compose the original eight-minute score, Anne Dudley drew inspiration from the photographs of Sam Taylor-Johnson’s series Ghosts (2008)—based on Emily Brontë's classic Victorian novel Wuthering Heights—in which the artist captured the setting where the Brontë sisters were raised, Haworth Moor in Yorkshire, whose windswept landscapes featured prominently in their literary creations. Sigh shows the BBC musicians performing a score that evokes those bleak moors devoid of human presence, a piece played on eerily invisible instruments with a natural yet seemingly dramatized gesturality.


Sam Taylor-Johnson
Sigh, 2008
8 screen projection
Duration: 8 minutes 37 seconds
© Sam Taylor-Johnson. All rights reserved, DACS 2015. Courtesy White Cube