The Box
KARST
MIRROR
The Levinsky Gallery
08/10/22 09:00–23/12/22 05:00

British Art Show 9

Oliver Beer

Beer edit
Oliver Beer, Household Gods, Install Shot. British Art Show 9. MIRROR. Credit: Lloyd Russell.

British Art Show is a landmark touring exhibition that celebrates the vitality of recent art made in Britain. Plymouth first hosted this significant national exhibition ten years ago. This iteration brings different themes into focus in each city. In Plymouth it centres on the migration of people, plants, objects, ideas and forms.

British Art Show 9 will be delivered in partnership with Plymouth Culture and shown across four venues: The Box, KARST, The Levinsky Gallery at the University of Plymouth and MIRROR at Arts University Plymouth.

2221069
Oliver Beer, Household Gods, Install Shot. British Art Show 9. MIRROR. Credit: Lloyd Russell.

The British Art Show is a landmark touring exhibition that celebrates the vitality of recent art made in Britain. Organised every five years by Hayward Gallery Touring the exhibition brings the work of artists defining new directions in contemporary art to four cities across the UK.

British Art Show 9 was developed at a precarious moment in Britain’s history that has brought politics of identity and nation, concerns of social, racial and environmental justice, and questions of agency to the centre of public consciousness. The artists presented in the exhibition respond in critical ways to this complex context; imagining more hopeful futures and exploring new modes of resistance.

BAS9 is curated by Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar, and presented in collaboration with the cities of Aberdeen, Wolverhampton, Manchester and Plymouth.

2221032
Oliver Beer, Household Gods, Install Shot. British Art Show 9. MIRROR. Credit: Lloyd Russell.
2221039
Oliver Beer, Household Gods, Install Shot. British Art Show 9. MIRROR. Credit: Lloyd Russell.
2221040
Oliver Beer, Household Gods, Install Shot. British Art Show 9. MIRROR. Credit: Lloyd Russell.
2221050
Oliver Beer, Household Gods, Install Shot. British Art Show 9. MIRROR. Credit: Lloyd Russell.

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.