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Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible Ocula Report Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible 17 Apr 2019 : Federica Bueti for Ocula

I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...

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Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui Ocula Conversation Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui

The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...

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The National 2019: New Australian Art Ocula Report The National 2019: New Australian Art 13 Apr 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...

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Nina Beier

b. 1975, Denmark

Nina Beier's multimedia installations, performative sculptures, and static assemblages incorporate everyday objectsinto theatrical still lifes which examine the cultural symbolism embedded in them.

Beier often manipulates her subject's materiality by exposing its fragility or durability. China (2016), for example, comprises a porcelain vase and porcelain dog with large, jagged holes cut into them; for the installation Ruin (2018), the artist moulded soap into bricks and laid them across the floor among bugs and dirt.

Beier also pairs valuable and disposable items to spark conversations between them. In the sculpture Real Estate #01 (2013), an office chair headrest is inserted into a tall, white granite plinth, while in the installation FOOD CHAIN CAFE (2018), French baguettes are draped over marble lion statues and stuffed through imitation watches and bracelets. Commonplace articles appear together in unexpected ways, such as the hand-rolled cigars that replace drainpipes of ceramic sinks in Plug (2018), or the human hair wigs laid flat on picture frames in Feathered chocolate jagged glam (2014) or Layered Side-Swept Ombre (2015).

The bizarre arrangement of objects in Beier's work often warrants a double-take. In Allegory of charity (2015), for instance, a ceramic cup floats impossibly in the air—seemingly defying gravity—held up only by the stream of coffee beans that are being poured from the receptacle. For Anti-ageing—a performance piece at Swiss Institute, New York, produced for Performa 15 in 2015—Beier used a trained dog to lie still in a luxury suite display. Only the subtle movement of the dog's chest betrayed the illusion that it was not real. She also hired performers to complete various time-dependent domestic activities in the suite, such as smoking a packet of cigarettes, drying a facial mud mask, and waiting for vegetables to ripen. Further blurring the line between life and its image, Beier placed webcams, monitors, and green screens in the gallery to allow visitors to digitally transpose themselves into 'living still lifes'.

For the performance The Complete Works, staged at London's Tate Modern in 2012, Beier invited three retired dancers to enact every piece of choreography they had ever learnt in the chronological order. Following the performers' individual lives and the history of choreography through their moves, Beier drew attention to the fact that daily life, whether involving a banal activity or poetic movement, cannot exist outside the rigid regime of time.

Beier graduated from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2004, and has held solo exhibitions internationally, notably at The Downer, Berlin (2018); Metro Pictures, New York (2015); Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp (2015); David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2014); and Glasgow Sculpture Studios (2013). She has also participated in group exhibitions at Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2014); Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2013); and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2013), among others. Beier's work has been included in the Lyon Biennale (2015) and the Biennale of Sydney (2016).

Beier lives and works in Berlin.

Genista Jurgens | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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Automobile by Nina Beier contemporary artwork Nina BeierAutomobile, 2018 Remote control car, human hair wig
Metro Pictures
Mars by Nina Beier contemporary artwork Nina BeierMars, 2018 Two asphalt blocks and 6 Mars bars
Metro Pictures
Man's Mind by Nina Beier contemporary artwork Nina BeierMan's Mind, 2018 Marble, beard trimmings
118.7 x 157.2 x 38.1 cm
Metro Pictures
Baby by Nina Beier contemporary artwork Nina BeierBaby, 2018 Waterbed mattress, water, coins, Delaware River rounds
157.5 x 153.7 x 53.3 cm
Metro Pictures
Plug by Nina Beier contemporary artwork Nina BeierPlug, 2018 Ceramic sink, hand-rolled cigar
31.1 x 45.4 x 31.4 cm
Metro Pictures
Plug by Nina Beier contemporary artwork Nina BeierPlug, 2018 Ceramic sink, hand-rolled cigar
24.1 x 49.5 x 24.1 cm
Metro Pictures
Plug by Nina Beier contemporary artwork Nina BeierPlug, 2018 Ceramic sinks, hand-rolled cigars
Metro Pictures
Plug by Nina Beier contemporary artwork Nina BeierPlug, 2018 Ceramic sink, hand-rolled cigar
34.9 x 67.3 x 54 cm
Metro Pictures

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Nina Beier, Baby at Metro Pictures, New York
Closed
26 October–21 December 2018 Nina Beier Baby Metro Pictures, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Nina Beier, Michael Dean, Oscar Enberg, Chosil Kil, NO EYES DRY at ONE AND J. Gallery, Seoul
Closed
12 October–11 November 2017 Nina Beier, Michael Dean, Oscar Enberg, Chosil Kil NO EYES DRY ONE AND J. Gallery, Seoul

Represented By

In Related Press

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At Chelsea Galleries, Three Artists Subvert Aesthetics Related Press At Chelsea Galleries, Three Artists Subvert Aesthetics L'OFFICIEL : 30 November 2018

With the impending winter melancholy yet awaiting behind glitter-laden holiday vitrines and a few illusively warm afternoons, art galleries contribute to the season's festivities with ambitious solo exhibitions, showcasing the newest by art world key players and emerging talents. Bookended by the fall's back-to-school shows and Art Basel Miami,...

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Made in _______ Related Press Made in _______ office : 6 November 2018

Tell me about the installation at Metro Pictures.This show is very much a sculpture show. It's a culmination of an interest in materials and objects that travel. I have been looking at how a material is extracted from wherever it's from, how it's traded, how it's taking shape, and the intentions that go into the making of objects as opposed to how...

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20th Biennale of Sydney Related Press 20th Biennale of Sydney e-flux : 29 October 2015

The 20th Biennale of Sydney, inspired by a quote from author William Gibson, is titled The future is already here—it’s just not evenly distributed. This edition will be presented at venues conceived by Stephanie Rosenthal as “embassies of thought.” An embassy traditionally functions as a state within a state: a host country...

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Nina Beier at Kunstverein in Hamburg Related Press Nina Beier at Kunstverein in Hamburg Frieze : 6 August 2015

Danish artist Nina Beier's first institutional exhibition in Germany, Cash for Gold, is framed by a specific exchange: the turning of one's possessions, such as unwanted jewelry, into fast money. If you've ever had to pawn something, you know firsthand the lopsidedness of such deals.

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In Related Video

/Dialogues: Visibility | Invisibility — Sculpture in Everyday Space Related Video & Audio /Dialogues: Visibility | Invisibility — Sculpture in Everyday Space EXPO CHICAGO : 14 September 2017

Nina Beier (Artist, STANDARD (OSLO), joségarcía, mx), Tom Burr (Artist, Bortolami Gallery). Moderated by Stephanie Cristello, Director of Programming, EXPO CHICAGO and Editor-in-Chief, THE SEENWhat is the responsibility of formalism in the twenty-first century? This panel will trace the work of contemporary artists whose diverse sculptural...

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