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Janet Cardiff The Forty Part Motet

Presented By

(With) The San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art (SFMOMA)


Janet Cardiff's The Forty Part Motet

Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) co-presented the California debut of Janet Cardiff’s immersive sound installation The Forty Part MotetThe Forty Part Motet was a 40-part choral performance of English composer, Thomas Tallis’s 16th-century composition Spem in Alium, sung by the Salisbury Cathedral Choir. The performance was played in a 14-minute loop that included 11 minutes of singing and three minutes of intermission.

Individually recorded parts are projected through 40 speakers arranged inward in an oval formation, which allowed visitors to walk throughout the installation, listening to individual voices along with the whole. Cardiff’s layering of voices created an emotionally evocative sound sculpture that feels intimate, even within a public space.

Admission was free; advanced tickets sold out, limited same day walk-up tickets were offered as available.

The Forty Part Motet by Janet Cardiff was co-presented by Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture and SFMOMA. Kind loan support was provided by the Kramlich Collection and Tate, through the Tate Americas Foundation.

Janet Cardiff

Cardiff lives in British Columbia where she works in collaboration with her partner George Bures Miller. The artist is internationally recognized for immersive multimedia works that create transcendent multisensory experiences and draw the viewer into often unsettling narratives.  Cardiff and Miller’s work has been included in recent group exhibitions and biennales such as Soundscapes at The National Gallery, London, the 19th Biennale of Sydney in 2014, and dOCUMENTA (13). Representing Canada at the 2001 Venice Biennale, Cardiff and Miller received the Biennale’s Premio Prize and Benesse Prize. Recently, the artists debuted new site-specific commissions for Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, The Menil Collection, Houston, TX, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain.  The Forty Part Motet is widely considered one of her most important pieces.

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