Albion Waves, London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE
Albion Waves, 2023
9 February - 15 July 2023 I London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE
Albion Waves is the title of Oliver Beer’s solo show and immersive new commission that reveal the hidden sounds of 2000 years of British vessels.
The exhibition was inspired by the cultural and social changes in Britain’s material history and its ever-changing position across the globe. Influenced by the 14,000 Roman artefacts discovered on the Bloomberg site during the 2012-2014 archaeological excavations, Albion Waves features 28 historic British vessels, a diverse selection of British objects from the past 2000 years. A constellation of suspended vessels with microphones inside, each object’s ‘voice’ is amplified when the microphones are turned on, each one triggered when movement sensors on the ceiling detect the visitors’ presence. Traversing centuries and varying in colour, form, size and origin, the installation will be played by the viewer as they move through the space, evolving into a gentle orchestral song as the bodies and movement of visitors interact with the work.
Alongside the sound installation, Oliver Beer made dynamic new ‘Resonance Paintings’ that use the sounds of these vessels to move finely ground pigment into beautiful geometric patterns that are then permanently fixed onto the canvas.
An evolution of his landmark solo exhibition in 2019 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Albion Waves continues my exploration of a natural acoustic phenomenon, whereby each and every empty vessel has its own natural resonance, determined by the object's specific volume and geometry.
'If you love a pot, which I do, it’s worth taking a moment, while others dance carefully around the installation to peruse the full list of vessels, which traverse the centuries and the UK, and together reflect cultural and social changes in Britain’s material history. The oldest vessel is an elegant Roman pot, dating from the same era as the temple downstairs, and representing a moment of technological evolution in British ceramics. A 19th century spirit jug bears the potter’s mark of Doulton and Watts – the same brand for which the 12-year-old Charles Dickens spent hours pasting labels on pots while his father languished in a debtor’s prison, informing the writer’s later searing depictions of contemporary poverty.’ Nancy Durrant, Evening Standard