Tate Britain

Like some suppressed yet ever- returning thought the plaintive sounds of Susan Philipsz’s installation follow you around the gallery. This has provoked many negative comments from visitors who feel the fragmented tunes (based on ‘the last post’) interfere with concentrating on and enjoying the art in the first floor rooms.  This misses the point.  Standing in front of an Auerbach painting these sometimes jarring but always quietly insistent sounds seem like an echo of the painter’s tireless strive for expression, and the same is true for the art in the other rooms.  For what is great art but a struggle to reveal some truth, often clashing with preconceived ideas, unpredictable and interfering.  The latter is sadly also true of war, since it interferes in the most brutal way in the lives of people affected by it and it is happening in too many countries right now. The haunting sounds of this installation are not only a reminder of past wars but also of the fact that war rages on whilst we can look at – and listen to – great art in these galleries.