Sandra Beccarelli always listens to music when she works, saying that it inspires her art.
But when someone pointed out that her paintings remind them of musical compositions, she realised she could take that concept and use it to accentuate and further her work.
Which is why when you go to her new exhibition The Sounds That Paintings Make at Darl-e and the Bear in Woodstock, you can scan a QR code next to individual pieces and listen to the accompanying music or poetry composed specifically for her work.
Featuring Daniel Birch (electronic sounds) Fr. Peter Burns (Gregorian chant) and Agnieszka Studzinska (poetry), Sandra says: “the exhibition is a really multi-sensory experience.”
So where did the idea come from? “Contemporary composer Daniel Birch came to my pop-up exhibition in a London park where I was an artist-in-residence, and he was struck by how ‘musical’ my pieces were in terms of their vocabulary, tone, rhythm and pace and felt that there were a lot of crossovers. So he contacted me and we began to work together,” she says.
Daniel began composing soundscapes to specific pieces of Sandra’s, which you can now listen to while you look at them in the Woodstock gallery. “They really complement the work,” Sandra says.
She then came across a classical music score in her attic and decided to ripple it with pins to mirror its age and decrepit nature and wanted to demonstrate that sound-wise. Directed to Ealing Abbey she found Father Peter Burns who not only identified the music as Gregorian chant but sang it, the results of which now accompany the piece in Darl-e and the Bear, giving the whole exhibition a wonderfully atmospheric and enveloping feel.
Also collaborating with poet Agnieszka Studzinska who happens to be Sandra’s neighbour, the pair met for a chat.
“When I began making The Beauty Of Holes I posted it through her door and she wrote This Could All Be Gone Tomorrow which you can now hear while you look at the piece.”
You can also make notes and offer suggestions on the poems themselves pasted alongside the art in Darl-e’s toilets – its about disrupting the text as much as the work, like graffiti, and another piece might emerge from that,” Sandra says.
The Sounds That Paintings Make features 30 of Sandra’s works both old and new, at Darle until the end of the month, which are all ‘sound’ related.
“Darle is such an incredible space and it has really created its own conversation. The colour of the walls really makes my work glow and almost come to life, to focus on the potential of the work themselves. Huge video screens offer snippets and amplify what we already know about Sandra and her work.
“It’s been an incredibly creative time for me in lockdown,” Sandra adds. “I could just dedicate all my time to my artwork. I recycled a lot of it and finished pieces that have been waiting there for years. It was really productive.”
It also focused her on this sound-related exhibition. “A lot of my early work was about my own identification, being female and gay, which was really different in those days, and being an Italian Roman Catholic, but now I want to make work that’s more global and open, something positive, to be able to look at the light at the end of the tunnel and make things better.
“But in terms of what I’m trying to say, and what underpins my work, it’s about motion and it’s disturbances across space – what’s underneath and hidden in both art and people – it’s metaphorical more than literal.
Which finds Sandra drilling, pinning, smashing, reconfiguring and regenerating – “that feeling that nothing stays the same,” she says. “So in my studio nothing is static and everything is moving around on my floors and walls until it’s done, which is tiring but also energising.
Currently working on her next exhibition 100,000 Surfaces she says: “I find it really releasing and euphoric, especially whenaccompanied by Eric Prydz’s Opus, so while I do think ‘how did I get to this point’ it gives you faith.”
And does she mind what people think of her work? “Of course. I want it to be challenging and energising, to make people talk and think. The worst thing would be indifference,” she says as she goes back to gouging bits out of her work with a chisel.
I don’t think that’s ever going to be a problem.
The Sounds That Paintings Make at Darl-e and the Bear in Woodstock runs until the end of October. For more information go to: https://www.darleandthebear.co.uk/the-sounds-that-paintings-make-2021.asp