Oliver Beer Oliver Beer

Oliver Beer

British
b. 1985
/

Overview

'Sound is a sculptural presence which is entirely contingent on form, time, geometry and space. If you look at objects from an acoustic perspective, they can start to reveal things that we wouldn’t have realised had we been observing them purely visually.'

Oliver Beer trained in musical composition before attending the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, and studying cinematic theory at the Sorbonne, Paris. This musical background is reflected in his live performances, films, installations and sculptures, which reveal the hidden acoustic properties of vessels, bodies, and architectural environments. The artist's familial relationships often inform multi-disciplinary works that engage with intimate yet universal concerns, such as the sounds and memories contained within personal possessions. Beer explores the unifying potential of music that resonates across history, generations and cultures, as embodied in objects and spaces.

In Beer's ongoing The Resonance Project (2007– ), vocal performances stimulate the natural harmonics inside buildings, ranging from the Sydney Opera House and Palais de Tokyo in Paris to a hammam in Istanbul and the Brighton sewers. According to the artist: 'At the right frequency, a room will take on the energy of a singer's voice – so much so that a singer can whisper a note and the room will completely eclipse their vocal presence with its resonance and become an extension of their body. You can't build a space without building a musical note.' He has applied similar principles in works such as Vessel Orchestra (2019), created using hollow objects from The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection. These were selected for their natural pitches and assembled to create an idiosyncratic musical instrument that also forms an audible portrait of the museum collection.

Oliver Beer trained in musical composition before attending the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, and studying cinematic theory at the Sorbonne, Paris. This musical background is reflected in his live performances, films, installations and sculptures, which reveal the hidden acoustic properties of vessels, bodies, and architectural environments. The artist's familial relationships often inform multi-disciplinary works that engage with intimate yet universal concerns, such as the sounds and memories contained within personal possessions. Beer explores the unifying potential of music that resonates across history, generations and cultures, as embodied in objects and spaces.

In Beer's ongoing The Resonance Project (2007– ), vocal performances stimulate the natural harmonics inside buildings, ranging from the Sydney Opera House and Palais de Tokyo in Paris to a hammam in Istanbul and the Brighton sewers. According to the artist: 'At the right frequency, a room will take on the energy of a singer's voice – so much so that a singer can whisper a note and the room will completely eclipse their vocal presence with its resonance and become an extension of their body. You can't build a space without building a musical note.' He has applied similar principles in works such as Vessel Orchestra (2019), created using hollow objects from The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection. These were selected for their natural pitches and assembled to create an idiosyncratic musical instrument that also forms an audible portrait of the museum collection.

In his sculptural practice, Beer surgically slices and then reassembles personal possessions in resin to create 'Two-Dimensional Sculptures', dissecting the material world and the traces we leave on it. These items often include musical instruments, as well as family heirlooms such as his grandmother's jewellery or pipes from his grandfather's collection. Using a technique unique to Beer's practice, he transforms three dimensions into two, creating a 'physical cubism' in which multiple perspectives can be simultaneously perceived. The artist notes that sound travels in straight lines directly through matter – as in ultrasound imaging – not stopping at the surface as light does, so these works allow us to perceive the world beyond its surface.

Beer, who lives and works in London and Paris, joined the gallery in 2013. Following his presentation at the Lyon Biennale that year, he developed a Resonance Project piece for the gallery's Pantin space. His work has been the subject of many solo and group exhibitions, notably at the Met Breuer and MoMA PS1 in New York; Centre Pompidou, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Palais de Tokyo and Palace of Versailles in Paris; the Musée d'Art Contemporain, Lyon; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; WIELS, Brussels and the Sydney and Istanbul biennials. The artist has also held residencies at the Palais de Tokyo, the Watermill Centre, Sydney Opera House and Fondation d'entreprise Hermès.

Videos

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Oliver Beer; Oma at Thaddaeus Ropac London Ely House (2020)

Oliver Beer

Oma
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Oliver Beer New Performance and Sculpture

Oliver Beer

New Performance and Sculpture
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Oliver Beer Diabolus in Musica

Oliver Beer

Diabolus in Musica
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Tea with Julia featuring British artist, Oliver Beer (2020); Thaddaeus Ropac

Tea with Julia

Oliver Beer

Artworks

Publications

Oliver Beer Diabolus in Musica / Rabbit Hole

Oliver Beer

Diabolus in Musica / Rabbit Hole
2014
Oliver Beer: Diabolus in Musica / Rabbit Hole
€ 25.00
Oliver Beer Composition for London

Oliver Beer

Composition for London
2017
Oliver Beer: Composition for London
€ 30.00

News and Press

News and Press

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