In a new commission for the Small Collections Room Nina Beier draws on the iconic Hermes scarf. So far over 25,000 unique designs have been produced by the Parisian luxury goods company. Reflecting Hermes’ early history as a saddler, the most famous of their coveted silk scarves are horse related. However swords, rifles, chains, jewellery, ropes, African masks, shells and feathers have all been featured. The choice of objects echoes the collections of discerning gentlemen displayed in “wunderkammer”, or cabinets of curiosity. The objects scattered across those silk squares also reflect a Eurocentric, colonial and militaristic ideology.
Beier’s collages in the Small Collections Room borrow this vocabulary. They contain both exclusive and mass produced objects, with different symbolic and economic values. Beier injects self-doubt into a long history of supposed superiority. Modern day objects from China and India reference mass production and globalisation, rather than the old “exotic” East. She is also concerned with the reduction of three-dimensional objects into flat ornamentation – a process that removes objects from the historic and focuses on their aesthetic value instead.
Beier’s compositions also draw on stock photography and image banks, sold to clients for commercial use. Image banks anticipate the needs of clients, and lead to endless uses for the images. Their content is specific but universal. The images are thus both empty and laden with meaning – symbolic, metaphorical and literal. The presentation of objects – and the way in which their context alters them – is a recurring concern in Beier’s work.
Nina Beier was born Denmark,1975
She lives and works in Berlin