Oliver Beer: See and Hear at Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery
31.01.19
Léon Mychkine

#PARIS At Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery, rue Debelleyme in the Marais, probably one of the most unexpected exhibitions in Paris, or anywhere else, just as much. But it is here that Oliver Beer, a British artist born in 1985, shows “Household gods”. Oliver Beer has a dual background as an artist (Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford) and as a musician (Academy of Contemporary Music, Guilford). In 2008, he inaugurated The Resonance Project, initiated in the Abbey of Farfa, Italy. It is about playing music on objects. When you put it that way, it sounds enigmatic to say the least.

At Ropac, therefore, we have objects placed on pedestals, like sculptures. So far, nothing but classic. What is much less so is that above or even inside each object is a microphone on a stand. It should be noted that everything is beautiful, objects as a sound pattern. Oliver Beer did not choose his objects at random, but by virtue of their aesthetic aspect, I suppose, familiar, and above all, acoustic. Thus we hear notes, musical waves produced by objects.

We will have understood that the “household gods”, as envisaged in our contemporaneity, are those invested by their owners for their artistic, monetary, emotional, practical, or other value. Oliver Beer, in addition to showing the elective place (the bases) they hold, adds another dimension, that of their deep, sonorous nature, which just has to be vibrated, in a way. How does Beer get this, with just a microphone and a stand for everyone? That is the artistic question that is being asked. As for us, spectators, we are faced with overdetermined objects, whose presence, already invasive in our current world, is consequently enhanced by their sound expression. It is the cantilena of commercial objects. But not only that. Since it is also contemporary music, music that cannot be sold, not because of its quality, but because it is anything but commercial. And so here we are faced with an installation in the form of an oxymoron and a chiasmus. Beautiful posture achieved by Beer.

Oliver Beer “Household Gods”
12 January-16 February
Thaddaeus Ropac-Marais Gallery
7 Debelleyme Street
75003 Paris