Phil Collins: my heart's in my hand, and my hand is pierced, and my hand's in the bag, and the bag is shut, and my heart is caught
October 7, 2017 — January 28, 2018

MOCA presents the first US museum exhibition of this intimate collaborative installation by British artist Phil Collins (b. 1970, Runcorn, UK). The work features six listening booths housing 7” vinyl recordings of original songs that the artist created in collaboration with guests of a homeless shelter in Cologne, Germany, as well as with Collins’ vast network of musicians. To make this work, Collins installed a phone booth with a free line at the shelter, available to all for unlimited local and international calls, with the agreement that the conversations would be recorded and made anonymous. The selected recordings were shared with a group of musicians, including David Sylvian, Scritti Politti, Lætitia Sadier, Maria Minerva and Damon & Naomi, Planningtorock, and others, who used the telephone booth audio to create new songs played on record players in the listening booths.

This installation evokes the universal transformative potential of music. It resonates with Cleveland’s stellar music scene, as well as the city’s deep struggle with poverty and the prevalence of homelessness. Collins states that “art has an imperative to address important issues... and... in places and times of increasing division, it's crucial that it becomes a prism for reflection in order to create, or ballast, the bridges between us.”

Phil Collins (1970, Runcorn, UK) lives and works in Berlin and Cologne. He is currently a Professor of Video Art at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Collins’ diverse practice addresses the act of image-making and how we participate in and understand culture through the lens of the camera. His mixed-media and socially based works arise from close engagement with places and communities that include the youth of Baghdad, anti-fascist skinheads in Malaysia, teachers of Marxism-Leninism from the former GDR, and Kosovan-Albanian refugees. His works take shape in the combination of installation, performance, video, photography, and sculpture. 

 His work has been presented in solo exhibitions including venues: Museum Ludwig in Cologne (2013); British Film Institute in London (2011); Tramway in Glasgow (2009); Aspen Art Museum in Colorado (2008); Dallas Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa (all 2007); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Tate Britain in London (both 2006); and Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, OH (2005). He has also been presented in numerous group exhibitions including venues: Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 in New York; Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven; New Museum in New York; Beirut Art Center; Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo; Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston; Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; Hayward Gallery in London; and Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna. He received Paul Hamlyn Award for Visual Arts in 2001, and was nominated for Artes Mundi Prize in 2012 and Turner Prize in 2006. He studied at the University of Manchester and University of Ulster in Belfast.