Susan Hiller (b. 1940, Tallahassee, FL; lives in London) is an influential pioneer of multimedia installation art recognized for her early adoption of video as an artistic medium. She is known for her ability to transform conventional gallery spaces into haunting, immersive environments. Hiller’s work often explores the murkier corners of the human psyche, touching on dark or esoteric subjects—from neglected memorials and dead or dying languages to UFO sightings and other paranormal or occult phenomena. While Hiller’s approach often bears an analytical, systematic quality—informed as much by post-1960s conceptual art as by scientific research and anthropological investigation—her work is consistently infused with undercurrents of poignancy and poetry.
Susan Hiller grew up in Cleveland and Miami (where she attended Coral Gables High School) and subsequently moved to London, where she has resided since 1969. She received a B.A. from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, and then studied photography at Cooper Union and archeology and linguistics at Hunter College in New York. She later undertook postgraduate studies in anthropology at Tulane University, New Orleans, completing fieldwork in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize with a grant from the Middle American Research Institute. Major retrospectives of her work have been organized by the Institute for Contemporary Art, London, and Tate Britain, London. Other solo exhibitions have been presented at institutional venues including The Jewish Museum, New York; Generali Foundation, Vienna; Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporaneo, Turin; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; Museo Serralves, Porto, Portugal; Tate Gallery, Liverpool; Freud Museum, London; University Art Museum, California State University, Longbeach; and Serpentine Gallery, London, among others. Hiller is a recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship in Visual Art Practice, the Gulbenkian Foundation Visual Arts Award, and the Berlin DAAD Fellowship.