City Gallery City Gallery

Past event

Playlist: Joanna Margaret Paul

Until 6 February 2023

Imagined in the Context of a Room is a major retrospective celebrating the career and legacy of Joanna Margaret Paul (1945–2003). A multi-disciplinary and experimental artist, Paul worked across painting, poetry, photography and film.  

Joanna’s youngest son Pascal Harris, a classical pianist, has arranged this intimate playlist to accompany the exhibition.  

Reflecting on his choices for the playlist, Pascal notes:  

“When asked to compile a playlist that reflected my mother’s musical inclinations, I had a vague picture of what music I would select, a large part consisting of Schubert lieder. Her favourite composer, Schubert is also my favourite composer. In him there is infinite longing and tenderness, purity and simplicity. Something quite indefinable that goes straight to the heart.  

But as I went deeper, trying to recall what music touched her, I rediscovered many pieces of music that I had entirely forgotten about, and this became an overwhelming emotional experience. The resonance of this music, long forgotten by me, but embedded deeply in my being, cut to my heart and made me feel close to my mother again.  

Her love of music related to her love of literature. The music she loved was above all vocal. The purity of the word. She sang hymns in church- tentatively. Her cherished desire was to be able to sing in tune! I used to criticize her tastes as being sentimental - Frank Sinatra - but as I have come to learn, the ‘sentimental’ may be complex and many-layered.”