Asakusa is delighted to announce a solo exhibition by British artist Oliver Beer. Trained both as a composer and a visual artist, Beer explores the medium specificity of sound in relation to vision, and the perceptions of space that permeate our acoustic experience. Throughout his extensive output, from sculptural object to animation and performance, his work confronts the correlation of material, echoes, resonances, acoustic particularities and responses to human presence. The exhibition “Deconstructing Sound” presents the artist’s first presentation dedicated to a specific field of his work: the video, and illustrates how the artist prospects the deconstruction of sound in this composite art form. Introducing breath and voice as an elementary source of sound, Mum’s Continuous Note (2012) is a modest presentation of the artist’s mother accompanied by a miniature ukulele. Singing a long, single note without interruption for breath, she celebrates the beauty of sound and harmony, and explains in subtitles the method of circular breathing used to play wind instruments. While observing the profundity of the human voice and the emotive power it can deliver - how a single melody arouses feelings in the ancient Greek eulogy or Gregorian chant for instance – it also reveals sound’s deceptive and illusionary qualities. Composition for Two Pianos and an Empty Concert Hall (2012) portrays a musical composition specially written for the architecture of the Pamoja Hall, a recently built concert hall in Kent, UK. Scored for two young trebles who use their voices to provoke the sympathetic vibrations of the strings of two pianos, the video illustrates the basic effect of music as a physical event. When the sustain pedal is held down on a piano and a note is sung in proximity to the strings, only the string that corresponds with that same note will resound in sympathy with the voice. The singers are thus able to play the pianos with their voices, without ever touching the keys. The work witnesses how sound waves travels through the air, embodying the shock of particles and the vibrations on the raw materials of the open grand pianos. A female observer in the background of the auditorium watches the two boys, as their voices build a consonant harmonic progression, creating tonalities through acoustic laws. While the camera caresses the surfaces of the walls, textiles, musical instruments, and human skin, it obliges a complex confrontation with physical, visual reality and maintains a focused, enduring attention on
Title: “Deconstructing Sound"
Artists: Oliver Beer
Dates: 8 November - 6 December, 2015
Venue: Asakusa, 1-6-16 Nishi-Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo
Opening hours: Thur. 19:00 - 22:00, Sat.& Sun. 12:00 - 19:00