Susan Hiller: Altered States

One of the most influential artists of her generation, Susan Hiller has been an innovator for close to five decades. Comprising landmark video installations and photographs, Altered States focuses on Hiller’s  investigations into dream states, the inexplicable, and our collective unconscious. 

Involving extensive research, Hiller assembles audio and visual artefacts from diverse cultural source material to map popular beliefs. The exhibition includes Psi Girls, movie footage of adolescent girls performing telekinetic feats; Resounding (Infrared), hypnotic visual and audio recordings of mysterious phenomena; and automatic writing. The works in Altered States reflect on how technology and language mediate our perceptions of the world.

Susan Hiller (b. 1940, Tallahassee, Florida) studied film, photography, archaeology and linguistics and then turned to art. Since moving to London, England from the U.S. in the 1960s, she has produced an extensive body of work. She is widely published, and edited the influential 1991 book The Myth of Primitivism: Perspectives on Art.

Hiller has had solo exhibitions in major international museums. Important solo exhibitions include the ICA, London (1986), Tate Liverpool (1996) and Moderna Museet in Stockholm (2007); Baltic, Gateshead; Museu Serralves, Porto (2004), Kunsthalle Basel (2005), Tate Britain, London (2011); Castello di Rivoli, Turin, (2011), and OGR, Turin (2018). She participated in documenta 13 (2012) and documenta 14 (2017). Hiller is represented by Lisson Gallery. 

Exhibition Tours

Tours of Altered States will be hosted every Thursday and Saturday at 2PM. To join the tour, meet at the ground floor lobby at 1:55PM. These tours are recommended for general visitors as an introduction to the exhibition.

French language tours of Altered States will be available on August 18 & 25, at 3pm.

For a more tailored experience, visitors are encouraged to book a private guided tour with a member of our curatorial team. For more information about private tours, visit the Contact Us page, or email tours@thepolygon.ca.

Events

Wednesday May 23
6pm: Members' Reception
7pm: A Conversation with Susan Hiller and Helga Pakasaar
8pm: Public Opening

Thursday June 7 and July 12, 2pm
Curator's Tour : Join curator Helga Pakasaar for a tour of Susan Hiller: Altered States. Learn about the perspective of the artist and the works in the exhibition during this unique opportunity.

Friday June 29 and July 13, 6:30 – 9pm
Friday Night Writes: Stream-of-consciousness writing and automatic drawing workshop with Tiziana La Melia and Rachelle Sawatsky. Limited capacity. Please email rsvp@thepolygon.ca to reserve a place in advance.

Friday July 27, 7 – 10pm
Friday Night Music: Join us for an evening of transforming and transporting musical energy, inspired by Susan Hiller: Altered States. Enjoy performances featuring the bracing harsh noise of The Rita, the swoon-worthy dark pop of Mourning Coup, and the well-curated musical psychotropia of the BC Hydra DJ crew.

Friday August 3, 7 – 10pm
Friday Night Talks: Join us for a lecture with American curator and writer Hamza Walker, who will respond to the work in Susan Hiller’s exhibition Altered States, in particular her five-channel video installation PSI Girls.

Friday August 10, 6:30 – 8pm
Friday Night Teens: An evening of activities for teens inspired by Susan Hiller: Altered States. Through Surrealist games, creative writing, automatic drawing and storytelling, participants will have the opportunity to reflect upon the exhibition themes such as the occult, transmissions and dream states, and how technology and language mediate our perceptions of the world.

Friday August 24, 7 – 8:30pm
Productive Doubt: No Reading After The Internet: Curators Amy Kazymerchyk and cheyanne turions host a reading salon open to everyone. Join us in reading aloud a text selected by artist Susan Hiller, followed by discussion. The evening is conceived to inspire collective discovery through the sharing of ideas. No pre-reading or research required.

Images: (above) Susan Hiller, Rough Dawns II, 2015 (detail), 12 archival pigment prints, each panel 51 x 76 cm; © Susan Hiller, courtesy Lisson Gallery
(below) Installation views, © Amy Romer, 2018

Installation view, Susan Hiller, "Psi Girls", 1999, five-screen video installation with sound, © Susan Hiller; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "Psi Girls", 1999, five-screen video installation with sound, © Susan Hiller; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "G--STS", 2012, colour photographs, © Susan Hiller; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "G--STS", 2012, colour photographs, © Susan Hiller; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "Resounding (Infrared)", 2013, single projection video installation with sound, © Susan Hiller; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "Resounding (Infrared)", 2013, single projection video installation with sound, © Susan Hiller; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "Resounding (Infrared)", 2013, single projection video installation with sound, © Susan Hiller; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "Resounding (Infrared)", 2013, single projection video installation with sound, © Susan Hiller; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "From India to the Planet Mars" series, 1997 – 2017, unique photographic negatives in lightboxes, each panel: 67.5 x 52 x 12 cm, © Susan Hiller; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "From India to the Planet Mars" series, 1997 – 2017, unique photographic negatives in lightboxes, each panel: 67.5 x 52 x 12 cm, © Susan Hiller; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "From India to the Planet Mars (14)" series, 1997 – 2017 (detail), unique photographic negatives in lightboxes, each panel: 67.5 x 52 x 12 cm, © Susan Hiller; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "From India to the Planet Mars (14)" series, 1997 – 2017 (detail), unique photographic negatives in lightboxes, each panel: 67.5 x 52 x 12 cm, © Susan Hiller; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "From India to the Planet Mars (29)" series, 1997 – 2017 (detail), unique photographic negatives in lightboxes, each panel: 67.5 x 52 x 12 cm, © Susan Hiller; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "From India to the Planet Mars (29)" series, 1997 – 2017 (detail), unique photographic negatives in lightboxes, each panel: 67.5 x 52 x 12 cm, © Susan Hiller; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "Homage to George Bataille, The Dirty Paintings", 1990, dispersion, ink and dirt on canvas-mounted wallpaper, 8 panels, each panel: 40.1 x 40.1 cm, © Susan Hiller, courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "Homage to George Bataille, The Dirty Paintings", 1990, dispersion, ink and dirt on canvas-mounted wallpaper, 8 panels, each panel: 40.1 x 40.1 cm, © Susan Hiller, courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "Homage to George Bataille, The Dirty Paintings", 1990 (detail), dispersion, ink and dirt on canvas-mounted wallpaper, 8 panels, each panel: 40.1 x 40.1 cm, © Susan Hiller, courtesy Lisson Gallery
Installation view, Susan Hiller, "Homage to George Bataille, The Dirty Paintings", 1990 (detail), dispersion, ink and dirt on canvas-mounted wallpaper, 8 panels, each panel: 40.1 x 40.1 cm, © Susan Hiller, courtesy Lisson Gallery

Susan Hiller - The Artist's Palette Alphabet

Susan Hiller has compiled a postcard alphabet from her ongoing project Homage to Man Ray. With reference to her first book Rough Sea (1976) this compilation allows the reader to rediscover and reuse an archetypal form of collective memory. The images in The Artist’s Palette Postcard Alphabet may be sent as postcards, the book subsequently becomes fragmented memories.

The book was printed in an edition of 500 copies on the press of Che Huber for Boabooks, on the 3rd of September, 2013 in Geneva. Switzerland.

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Connections, meanings, and challenges.

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The Polygon Gallery continues the forty-year reputation of Presentation House Gallery in engaging the public with the most visionary artists of our time. A new waterfront landmark on Vancouver's North Shore, The Polygon offers a one-of-a-kind space to encounter contemporary visual art with a focus on photography.

Admission always by donation, courtesy of Slice 1