SYDNEY, Australia — Continuing our theme this week, we have another work of contemporary ceramic art now on display at the Sydney Biennale. Nina Beier’s Allegory of Peace and Happiness of the State (2015) depicts surreal coffee mugs floating in the air above tiles that take their unique textures from the digital realm, blending material and the vaporous influence of the Internet. The work builds on another piece, Tileables (2014).
The artist partnered with Johnson Tiles for the work. The following is from an interview the company conducted with the artist:
Who or what is your main source of inspiration?
I have been looking into textures produced for the world of 3D modeling. These are used both for architectural renderings but also for game design, animation etc. The textures are referred to as ‘tiles’ due to their seamless ability to connect and create large coherent surfaces, like their physical counterparts.
Textures are both created from photographic source material, as complete digital manipulations and a mix of the two. The texture banks hold patterns of anything from skin to bricks to dry mud, basically any surface is available there as a building block or shall we say ’tile’.
Can you briefly describe the concept behind Tileables?
Tileables are ceramic tiles carrying different textures borrowed from a virtual realm. The smooth plane of the tile is printed with an image replicating any surface. These tiles are, at first glance, not far from the simulated surfaces of say, marble, in traditional tile design. In a way one could say that the tiles are both real tiles and images of real tiles. I am interested in a confused space where things carry images of themselves. Single tiles blend seamlessly with a replication of itself, producing a potentially infinite space. By stepping on the tiles, one treads on a foundation between object and representation, where the image is subsumed into the object and the other way around. Also the temporariness, variability, and quick production of the digital image contrasts with the often aged and weathered state of the textures rendered and the immobility and slow manufacture of the tiles themselves.
We partnered our post for this work along with other artworks by Beier, particularly from her Cash for Gold (2015) exhibition at the Kunstverein Hamburg.
Beier doesn’t confine herself to mediums, but she instead plays with materials, perceptions, images and communication, according to the Biennale. Working within a range of media, the artist deals with recurring ideas and creates subtle paradoxes with them.
“Beier is interested in ‘tracing the fidelity of meaning through the convoluted relationships between objects and images, pinpointing the various ways mediation mutates information from things to representations and back again.'”
Do you love or loathe these works of contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.