Impossible Composition, University of New South Wales Galleries, Sydney
University of New South Wales Galleries
5th January - 23rd February 2019
Oliver Beer’s practice engages with sound, architecture and the memory of objects.Impossible Composition reflects Beer’s experience as an artist in residence at the Sydney Opera House in 2018. The works draw on the design principles of its architect, Jørn Utzon, who saw the space ‘like a violin’. In turn, Beer sought to ‘tune’ the building, allowing Utzon’s labyrinthine structure to be played as an instrument.
The result is Impossible Composition 2018, a major sound piece arranged for four Australian singers performing in the tips of the Sydney Opera House roof. Each singer was asked to choose their earliest musical memory, which Beer then re-orchestrated. These include a Mongolian folk song, a chant by Hildegard, a Belgian lullaby and a Christian hymn. The piece juxtaposes the physical and sonic properties of the building with the personal histories of the musicians. A series of Beer’s two-dimensional sculptures made from fractured cross-sections of violins and cellos surrounds the installation.
Image courtesy the artist and UNSWG. Photo: Ben Latham Jones