Oliver Beer is a young British artist (born in 1985, currently lives in Kent), winner of the Saatchi Gallery’s ‘New Sensations’ prize 2009 who, after studying music, decided to dedicate himself to the visual arts. Nonetheless, music, and sound in general, is a key part of his work, as one can see in the ongoing series The Resonance Project (2007-2010). As the artist says himself, this series “uses the relationship between sound, music and architecture as a structure on which to build films, photographs and performances.” It includes choirs in various spaces – such as an abbey in Rome, a corridor of the Pompidou Centre in Paris or the Brighton sewers – which answer back and create a strange yet stunning sound, full of echoes.
The work of this artist in general is filled with poetry in its simplicity. For his piece Bodhran (2009), Oliver Beer conceals a loudspeaker beneath an Irish Bodhran (traditionnal drum), near a synthesizer playing, which sets a handful of flour in motion. The vibration of the flour creates abstract patterns seemingly coming from an outer force. The resonance of the speaker creates an atmosphere of spirituality and wonder, which places the viewer in a trance-like state. Visually, it appears to be between a miniaturized erupting volcano and a nuclear explosion: an intrinsic violence that is closely linked to pure beauty.
The artist also happens to take his inspiration from his own private life. Oma’s Kitchen Floor (2008), is dedicated to his grandmother. Using the forty years old lino floor of her kitchen, Oliver Beer transformed it into a wall piece, a gigantic picture, showing where the old woman used to walk and stop in her kitchen, “like a drawing made over forty years, these worn patches describe half a lifetime of movement.” These examples of his recent production shows that with quite simple means, Oliver Beer succeeds in creating pure emotion.
Oma’s Kitchen Floor, 2008
Linoleum, 511cm x 350 cm
Installation view, Modern Art Oxford
View more work by Oliver Beer