Susan Haire

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The Towers of the Takers

I feel very honoured to be taking part in this show in celebration of Victor Kuell’s 90th birthday and I have made this work especially for this exhibition with my collaboration partner Stephen Dydo.

During a conversation I had with Vic some years ago about where our civilization might have taken a wrong turn I recommended Vic the book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. In it a gorilla teaches that the wrong turn was taken when hunter-gatherers became settlers and agriculturalists – the Takers. The Leavers had existed in balance with nature for tens of thousands of years; a few still survive in small tribal societies.

The gorilla maintains that it isn’t impossible for us to become Leavers within our contemporary environment and of course if we don’t we will destroy our planet. It is very difficult for us to contemplate taking this step and make the sacrifices that would be entailed and it is highly likely it won’t happen. This work uses the analogy of The Tower of Babel whose construction was a hubristic act of defiance against God, according to a first century Jewish interpretation. The work draws on elements of our industrialised Takers’ world from photographs of telegraph poles loaded with disordered coils of cable in Kathmandu to rusty wire alongside sounds of smashing metal sheets mixed in with rhythms and melodies from remote Himalayan cultures.

Susan Haire


Biographical note 

A London-based visual artist, Susan Haire has collaborated with New York composer Stephen Dydo for eight years and they have had as many solo shows in the USA, UK and the Netherlands making installations involving sculpture and music. Prior to that Haire was a painter having had numerous solo shows in London and the UK, usually making site-specific and large-scale works in collaboration with various composers and sometimes with poets and play-wrights.

Dydo and Haire’s recent exhibitions include Reflection (2012), embracing themes of self-reflection and interconnectedness, an ambitious solo show of 18 installations in Peterborough Cathedral where one work reached 30m up into the tower and another made of 2500 bottles from the London Marathon spanned the nave. Reflection then toured to Western Connecticut State University, in honour of a visit by the Dalai Lama. Earlier this year they made an installation for the Borealis Festival of Contemporary Music in Bergen, Norway on the festival theme of alchemy.

Victor Kuell was Haire’s first tutor at Ravensbourne College of Art and Design in 1969 when she was 17 and more recently he proposed her for membership of The London Group and she has been its President for nearly nine years. The Group has over 90 artist members and is very proud to have celebrated its centenary in 2013.


Please see the gallery of Susan Haire’s work that are available for purchase. 

  • 200x200x50 cm
  • £3000, size variable, sound equipment included

Please enquire with gallery on 01732 863 939.