David Cunningham


Photo © Kyoko Arai

Born in 1954 in Ireland, artist and musician David Cunningham (Supersonix visiting professor, Royal College of Art) lives and works in London. His first significant commercial success came with The Flying Lizards’ record Money, an international hit in 1979. Since then, his work has ranged from pop music to gallery installations, including work for television, film, contemporary dance and a series of collaborations with visual artists.

Cunningham’s installation works explore the real-time experience of the acoustic qualities of a space. Locations have included Chisenhale Gallery London (1994), Biennale of Sydney (1998) and the Tate Triennale (Tate Britain, 2003); subsequent installations have included ICC Tokyo, Ikon Gallery Birmingham, Camden Arts Centre London and 1m3 Lausanne.

Since the release of his first album, Grey Scale, in 1976, Cunningham has worked as a musician and record producer, engaging with an eclectic range of people and music – from improvisers such as David Toop to Michael Nyman, Ute Lemper and Joanne Robertson’s first album. He has been a live music collaborator and performer with John Cage, Kathy Acker, Apache 61 and many others. His music for film has included Ken McMullen’s films Zina and (in collaboration with Michael Giles and Jamie Muir) Ghost Dance, and a series of film and television collaborations with visual artists which has included John Latham, David Hall, Stephen Partridge, Bruce McLean and Tony Sinden.

Related work has included the production and treatment of sound for installation and broadcast artworks by Martin Creed, Cerith Wyn Evans, Susan Hiller, Amikam Toren, João Penalva, Ian Breakwell, Gillian Wearing, Thomas Demand, Brad Butler and Karen Mirza, Sam Taylor-Wood and many others.

Cunningham’s most recent project was A Lot of Pianos, in which he commissioned seven composers and artists (including himself) each to compose a work for multiple pianos. It was performed by a large ensemble of pianists in a piano shop over the course of an evening, a unique opportunity to explore the possibilities of a large number of pianos.

David Cunningham is giving a special live performance with RCA students as part of the Supersonix conference. Click here for details.

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