Hanne Lippard is a visual artist and writer based in Berlin, whose artistic practise focuses on human communication and language in its many forms. Hanne uses her own voice as a medium to develop performances, sound installations and sculpture. We talked about her recent work, favourite medium and routine. The artist is represented by LambdaLambdaLambda.
What project have you been recently working on?
This year my main focus lies on two big exhibitions, a series of exhibitions called “Contact, Mood, Share” at the MHKA in Antwerp, a project which spans over a whole year, as well as my solo show at FRAC Lorraine in Metz which opens the 2nd of September. The latter show focuses on identity and authenticity found in speech and language, both the digital and the human voice. I am working on a new sound installation inspired by the work Not, I by Samuel Beckett from 1973, where a single human mouth delivers a ranting monologue in the middle of a pitch black stage.
What is your favourite medium at the moment and why?
The mouth is always my favourite medium, this hole of expression and consumption all at once.
Do you have a particular routine or specific rituals when you work?
I have a reading ritual; I read a poem every morning before I read anything else, before I look at my phone etc. At this point, your most recently experienced narratives are your dreams, and although they might not be clear to you, I think poems are a great continuation of this obscure dream-state, before rationality and the order of the day takes hold of your mind. At the moment I’m reading the Duino Elegies by Rainer Marie Rilke. The copy I have contains both the german version and the English translation, while the English version feels very contemporary the German language remains true to the original early 20th century version. It’s interesting to see the passing of time, and the difference in the tone of language, in one single piece of text. 100 years later it is still a very relatable piece of writing.
I don’t have a specific writing ritual, I gather fragments of language, short and long, and collage them together at some point. When composing the work I shift between the act of speaking and writing, both typing on the computer and writing by hand, in intervals. This helps me to see the text from different angles, as well as it’s better for my arms and shoulders; speaking gives you less of a back pain than typing does!
What do you prefer about your everyday life as an artist?
I have been able to make a professional living from what interests me the most in life; writing, reading and learning languages, as well as the countless artistic encounters throughout the years which have enabled my work to unfold into different directions. At the moment I dearly miss the social aspect of being an artist, the random encounters and the more spontaneous nature of things, but at the same time I appreciate that during last year I was always able to occupy myself with my own practise and research, no matter the conditions. I was at times sad or anxious, but hardly ever bored.
Could you send us an excerpt of a book on your bedside table at the moment?
A fragment from the ninth Duino Elegy:
Here is the time
for the sayable,
here is its home.
Speak, bear witness.
more than ever
things fall away from us.
and what crowds them out
and replaces them
is an event
for which there is no image
Tell us about your favourite online project this year, and why?
I’ve been invited to participate in several radio shows and similar projects that involve the act of concentrated listening, including the works I presented in the FIAC OVR. In connection to my exhibition in MHKA Antwerp I’ve been compiling a sequence of works from other artists who work with sound for Montez radio which was aired on Friday the 23rd April. It’s been an exciting process to go through all these artworks, both contemporary and historical. I think listening as an experience has gained popularity over the past year in lockdown and isolation, also as an art form. I hope so!
You sound works have been presented at FIAC Online Viewing Rooms this year. Could you tell as more about working with sound and language?
Orality is an inevitably shared experience; it exists between beings, stating a we between two or a few more individuals. Speech is language as well as sound, and at times music. In a similar way my own work moves between these different mediums, and becomes a physical experience as much as a literary one. This state of flux allows my work to develop freely within different format, rather than defining it to a single output, or a single state of mind.
You can listen to OUEU, the second sound work presented at FIAC OVR at this link.
Cover image: Felix Brüggemann