Nina Beier, China, 2015 / Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Petri Virtanen
Nina Beier: Parts
Mar 22 – Sep 8, 2024
Helsinki, Finland

Nina Beier turns the spotlight onto the biographies and historical baggage that many everyday items carry with them. Her sculptures are often based on existing objects that she uses as mirrors to reflect the world around them, its power structures, flows of materials and money, and the endless meanings associated with merchandise.

Remote-controlled toy cars carry human-hair wigs. The plugholes in old sinks are blocked with cigars, and porcelain dogs are paired with porcelain vases. Nina Beier uses existing objects and materials in her works. She creates juxtapositions, producing a tangled dialogue or confrontation between the many meanings they carry.

Beier is interested in the biographies of objects and the journeys they make from unprocessed matter to commodities and goods. Objects are manufactured, transported from one continent to another, copied, bought and sold. The raw materials come from somewhere – the earth, an animal, or even a human being. In this way, all objects are bound up with the global economy and with inter-personal and inter-species power relations. Beier collects objects that have been shaped cumulatively over the course of time and place. Along the way, they acquire symbolic value, which is renegotiated over time.

The idea of repetition and copying is linked with many of Beier’s works. Massage chairs imitate the touch of the human hand, while mechanical bulls replicate an animal that will not submit to being tamed by humans. Containers on the bulls’ backs hold breast-milk substitute manufactured industrially from cow’s milk.

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