A Short Bio
Barbara Beyer was born in Germany. She studied sculpture with Prof. Ansgar Nierhoff at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz from 1993 to 1997. In 1998 she moved to Edinburgh where she had a studio at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop until 2002, when she moved to London. Barbara has extensive experience in public engagement and participatory artwork, has taken part in exhibitions nationally and internationally, taken up artist residencies, and collaborated on public commissions in Switzerland, Norway and the UK. She is a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors and of Rochester Square ceramic studios. She was recently shortlisted for the 2021 Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize.
Current Working Practice:
Barbara Beyer’s work reflects on the markers and traces we leave through interventions with our environment, social and material word. In her sculptural practice she re enacts and plays out formative actions, echoing observations she makes outside the studio often questioning our perception of forming and deforming. Her forms have ambivalent qualities. We are not sure if we are looking at scarred landscapes or cultivated fields. The dropped forms from the series Workshop Archaeologies reveal a frantic urge to shape, reshape, form, deform; they carry a sense of shapeshifting rather than destruction.
Barbara uses clay in a diverse yet minimal way; she parallels the immediacy of the working process with clay to that of drawing. Barbara has a strong connection to the sculptural object and its evocative qualities. The sculptural objects she creates visibly contain traces of process and making, subtly telling the story of how they came into being. They remind us of our potential to be both creative and destructive, to break and make whole, to separate and to reconcile.
The work for the exhibition at Small House Gallery brings together brand new works that she created specifically for this show, and small-scale sculptures and sculptural sketches from the last 3 years (ie. Pandemic times). Work specifically made for this show includes a whole group of figure-like stoneware sculptures playfully invading the middle floor of House No. 1, and a series of small ceramics created by using a large wood drill, almost gutting and tearing up the clay, before arranging some of it on tables to move into House No 2.
House No 1: Lodgers
Suiseki 2020 (Black stoneware) 9cm x 19cm x 7cm
Sollbruchstelle 2021 (Black clay, slip) 12.5cm x 16cm x 4.5cm
Keeping it together 2021 (Black clay, slip) 7cm x 13m x 7cm
Visiting 2022 (Assembly of 12 ceramic pieces, stoneware) Bet 4.5cm x 3cm x 3cm & 12cm x 10cm x10cm
Give and take – hole and heap 2021 (Black clay) ca 5cm x 5cm x 4cm
Visiting 2022 (Assembly of 12 ceramic pieces, stoneware) Each between 4.5cm x 3cm x3cm and 12cm x 10cm x10cm
A closer look…
Compound 2020 (London clay)
Landscape imagined 2020 (Crank) 16cm x 19cm x 2cm
Looking for water 2021 (Stoneware, slip) 7cm x 12cm x 4cm
Fields 2020 (Slate, black clay)
House No. 2: Yard
Wall 2022 (Stoneware, oxids) 25cm x 7cm x 7cm
Furchen – Furrows 2020 (Barrel fired clay) 21cm x 7.5cm x 7.5cm
Furchen – Furrows 2020 (Barrel fired clay) 5cm x 16cm x 6cm
Drilling and Gutting 2022 (Stoneware, oxids) 11.5cm x 17cm x 8cm
Drilling 2022 (Stoneware, oxids) 11.5cm x 15.5cm x 8cm
To do something – Drilling and Gutting 2022 (Stoneware, oxids) 9cm x 10cm x 7cm
Drilled cube 2022 (Stoneware, oxids) 7.5cm x 7.5cm x 7.5cm
Späne – swarf 2022 (Stoneware) Variable dimensions
Drilled Wall 2022 (Stoneware, oxids) 8.5cm x 19cm x 6cm
Dropped sphere 2022 (Stoneware, oxids) 8.5cm x 10cm x 6cm
Untitled 2022 (Stoneware, oxids) 12.5cm x 10cm x 6cm
Corner 2022 (Stoneware, oxids) 11cm x 10cm x 8cm
Selected Recent Exhibitions with Barbara Beyer:
Earth North House Gallery Manningtree 2022
Wells Art Contemporary Open 22, Wells 2022
Together We Rise, Chichester Cathedral, Chichester 2022
Catch your breath, Waterloo Park, London Group, London 2022
AA2A residency exhibition, High Wycombe2022
Unterwegs, North House Gallery Manningtree 2022
All and Some, London 2021
All the works in the BAUSTELLE IN SCHAUSTELLE exhibition is for sale. Please contact the artists via direct message (DM) on Instagram for enquiries.
Gestation of the show’s title:
Barbara said that she wanted the exhibition in SH2 (House 2: Yard) to look like a workshop, studio or building site (especially the 2nd Floor). She was going to call the show Baustelle.
The ‘Visitors’ on the Middle Floor of House 1: Lodgers (SHG1) were not originally intended to be figures when they were created, but the human brain tends to see them as totems or stone fetishes, and as such, they morphed into a characters having a party in rented digs who were barely containable; they began to wander around the rest of the house. They had something of a travelling circus troupe to them in the context of the Small House installation.
When Barbara came to install her two-house takeover, Eldi asked about the etymology of the word Baustelle…
A Baustelle is a building site. Particularly the Stelle part. Barbara explained that Stellen means to put, to place, or to set upright. And Eine Stelle is a site or a place.
A Schausteller is someone to puts on a show, but not an actor – And actor is called a Schauspieler (literally: a ‘show player’ – a player in the old fashioned sense, ie. a Shakespearian player – a person who puts on plays – who plays in plays.) A Schausteller is more like a travelling showman or circus person (a ‘carnie’ maybe)?
Eldi was taking notes. Knowing that Baustelle is spelled B-A-U-S-T-E-L-L-E, she asked if Schausteller was spelled S-C-H-A-U-S-T-E-L-L-E and commented that we now had a Schaustelle im ein Baustelle (Eldi doesn’t speak German, never studied it, but took a punt on it making some kind of sense…
Barbara corrected her Schausteller (with the R) IN Baustelle…
A Schaustelle (without the R) is a showroom.
A Schaustelle in a Baustelle is sort of what the show had become!
Eldi’s bad German allowed for a left-of-field play-on-words that doesn’t really exist in German, but still makes a kind of surreal sense to a native speaker.
Barbara then turned the juxtaposition on its head and made it even more surreal – a building site in a showroom. It happens to be a good summation of what this show is now about: sculptures that were made using workshop tools and processes that are normally reserved for wood or metal, certainly not clay! The literal/linguistic disparity suits the disparities inherent within the making… a building site within a showroom (with the unruly party of circus performers lodging next door, hence, Baustelle in Schaustelle works on several levels in German.
It’s also fun to say, even as a non-native speaker.