By Carmen, Ikon Youth Programme member
Space; the artist’s plaything.
Quick! Grab it before it escapes!
The physical spaces we live in, visit, encounter unavoidably shape our human experience. They are the stage on which life is acted and memories are heightened. They mould us into individuals, affect us, and compel us. Yet this relationship is mutual.
Oliver Beer’s exhibition at Ikon brings a refreshing perspective to the punchy nostalgia of rifling through a worn family photo album; engaging with the exchange in impact between the individual and the space they inhabit. This warm intimacy drew me to Oma’s Kitchen Floor (2008), Beer’s portrait of his grandmother. The linoleum tiles arranged on the wall were taken from her kitchen floor, the pattern eroded into grey in the areas she stood most frequently. Beer has constructed a biography of Oma’s daily movements and interactions within the familiar kitchen space, painting her in the physical markings created over decades.
Oma’s Kitchen Floor captivated me as a hybrid artwork; part familial history, part performance, part self-reflection. The domesticity of the object needs no filter, the viewer is exposed to something they literally walk on day in day out. Beer brings our attention to the physical effect we have through this repetitive habitual motion through a very personal route. These tiles are covered in marks, relics of past energy. Oma has written her own story with her shuffling feet whilst cooking dinner or washing up. I can almost hear her whistling her favourite tune or dancing between the cupboards and shelves to the radio.