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Sue Tompkins (b. 1971)



  1. Country Grammer (2004)

Sue Tompkins uses the spoken and written word delivered in a deceptively simple and direct fashion. The written word comes first: she accumulates copious notes over a period of time then edits and refines them to create disjointed yet succinct texts that combine repeated words with constructed phrases to evoke imagery, emotion and ideas. These eclectic fragments are presented in the gallery as text on newsprint paper or as spoken word performances. Their rhythm and style are indebted to her experience of being in a band, but are also notable for the starkness of their hypnotising delivery. Performances such as Country Grammar 2003, More Cola Wars 2004 and Elephants Galore 2005 are read from up to 300 pages worth of notes: while some pages might contain one word others might have many.
Country Grammar (Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, 2004) takes its name from a work by Sue Tompkins. Tompkins is a wonderful shape-shifting artist whose work is impossible to pigeonhole. She is an inspired performer, a poet and a visual artist. She was the singer and writer with the much-missed Glasgow band, Life Without Buildings. She is an improviser, a mercurial, energetic presence and in the context of this exhibition, which advertises itself as a drawing show, she makes drawings.



Be Dear Crazy Loud
Sue Tompkins and Luke Fowler (2003)

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2

2003 unreleased, artists copy.

Compositions for found cassette, sampler and vocals by Luke Fowler, P6 and Sue Tompkins.

There is no documentary information on the cassette. It is a home recording made in the early-mid 70's, the recording is of a daughter and her mother engaged in a very intense argument. The daughter was diagnosed schizophrenic and perhaps spent some time in institutions and psychotherapy with R.D. Laing, who ended up in possession of this covert recording. It seems that the daughter made this recording to furnish Laing with an insight into her family life, but in hindsight it could also be a taken as a case study extracted from the research Laing and Dr. Aaron Esterton conducted for their 1964 study of Schizophrenic families "Sanity, Madness and the Family".

The performance will be split into two reactions to this cassette The first will be playback of a vocal re-interpretation of a transcript of the cassette by Sue Tompkins. The second piece will be performed is by P6 (vocals) and Luke Fowler (sampler and processing). The initial idea for the work is that all the sounds you hear within the composition derive from this cassette; the incidental sounds of the domestic environment are used as instruments creating an atonal orchestral backing for P6's layered vocals.




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