Oliver Beer has a particular interest in the relationship between sound and physical space. Talking about the way in which he makes music with vessels, he points out that ‘you cannot make a container without making a note ... If you whisper different frequencies into it, you can discover and stimulate a musical note that has been ricocheting around in there forever.’
In this acoustic installation, which includes objects scavenged from members of his family, Beer has chosen vessels that recreate the notes of an orchestra tuning up. The installation’s three sections represent his grandmother, mother and sister: their visually disparate possessions, elevated on plinths like objects of devotion, were chosen because musically they are in complete harmony with each other.
In Beer’s portrait of his grandmother a First World War German artillery shell, used to store her walking sticks, sings a perfect fifth with the remains of an ancient chimney found in her garden, which in turn chimes in a fifth with her Japanese rice-cooker. Among the objects representing the artist’s sister is one actual household deity: a ceramic statuette of the protective demon-god Bes, from ancient Egypt.