Walls of Sound

1997
Steel
1219 x 244 x 240 cm
Edition of 3

At catholic primary school one of the sisters asked William Furlong's class to close their eyes and listen very carefully. The sounds that he heard surprised him, and it became clear to him that we never, or at least rarely, live in complete silence. This example is offered, not to suggest that Furlong immediately became an artist who uses sound as part of his repertoire, but to describe an experience that remained with him and informed his practice. Walls of Sound is not only visual, but also auditory. William Furlong uses stainless steel, digital discs and amplifiers as well as the sounds that he recorded at Cass Sculpture Foundation, along the coast and in other Sussex locations. However, like many works of art, it is not so simple: it is more than just an assemblage of audio and visual materials. Two hollow stainless steel walls run parallel to one another for just over twelve metres, and along their length are positioned sound outlets, staggered so that they do not face one another. The surface of the steel is worked to a degree that it both reflects and absorbs the landscape, becoming part of it visually and aurally. As you move through this audio corridor you are met by different sounds, which reflect the general environs where the sculpture is placed. Furlong uses sound as a flexible, malleable material, much like how a painter or sculptor uses paint or clay to create impressions of the world.

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About The Artist

William Furlong began as an artist painting and making sculptures, but whilst at the Royal Academy began to make three-dimensional and mixed media work. In 1973 William Furlong established Audio Arts; an innovative sound magazine published on cassettes, which includes unique recordings of artists, and interviews with an exceptional calibre of artists that includes: Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik, James Joyce, Noam Chomsky, Andy Warhol, Anish Kapoor, Joseph Beuys, Gilbert & George, Yoko Ono, R. Buckminster Fuller, Hermann Nitsch, Mario Merz and Gerhard Richter amongst many others. As an established sound artist the voice and sounds are Furlong's materials. This arose from his intimate association with the voice when editing and recording interviews for Audio Arts. Many of his sculptures can be interpreted as architectural homes for sound to be pushed and pulled around a space, much like paint is pushed around a canvas.

William Furlong

Born: 1944