Listen to Oliver Beer's "Cat Orchestra" at Almine Rech NYC

The British artist creates auditory installations that evoke the musicality of objects.

Art
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Oliver Beer is a British artist who creates installations, sculptures, videos, and live performances that evoke the musicality of objects. In the past, he’s surveyed the Met’s vast collection of historical artifacts, attaching microphones to 32 separate works, that together, reverberated the hidden acoustics of each antique’s interior. For his latest show, Beer has taken over Almine Rech‘s Tribeca space to showcase an entire “band” made of various cat sculptures — from classical works of tigers and cheetahs to kitschy vessels depicting pop cultural figures, such as Tom from Tom & Jerry.

Ceremonially laid in the center of the gallery, Beer attached a microphone inside each object, which feeds into a custom-built keyboard and synthesizer. Whenever a key is played, the sound will emanate within the sculpture “so that a fin-de-siecle French absinthe pitcher in the form of a cat playing a mandolin sings an F sharp,” wrote the gallery, “and a Japanese Maneki-neko sings a D.” Beer’s “Cat Orchestra” was inspired by the 17th century German philosopher Athanasius Kircher, who dreamed of a similar sounding “Katzenklavier” (cat organ). “Beer’s real version is far kinder to animals and far more revealing of the sounds we hold within ourselves,” the release continued.

Also on view are a series of cobalt colored works, dubbed “Resonance Paintings”, that are made with pigment on canvas, which metaphorically evoke the image of a sound wave. Resonance Paintings – Cat Orchestra is on view in New York until April 27, 2024.

Almine Rech
361 Broadway,
New York, NY 10013

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