Exploring the ‘physicality of sound’ has shaped the creative vision behind four public art projects commissioned as part of the Bristol Beacon Transformation.
Music and visual art are natural partners. Both artforms excite when genres are crossed, ideas bubble and conversations happen.
At Bristol Beacon you can experience and explore a permanent collection of artworks; from sound installations, to ceramics, to murals and sculptures. They explore the physicality of sound and can be enjoyed on an intense personal level and as a joyful communal experience.
The commissioned artworks bring the art of music-making to life in visual form. They enhance the venue through two central ideas:
- – Music-making as a shared, communal artform
- – The building’s social and cultural ties to the trading and manufacturing past of the city.
Together, the artists reframe the building for a modern audience. The artworks reference the Beacon’s history in a contemporary way and allow the organisation to move forward, empowered by the past.
The vision for the permanent collection was provided by Theresa Bergne, Field Art Projects and commissioned by Bristol City Council.
Wool Jacquard Woven Rib Fabric, Lantern Hall
Wool Jacquard Woven Moquette Fabric, Lantern Hall
Wool Jacquard Woven Moquette Fabric, Beacon Hall
By Rana Begum
Rana Begum is responsible for creating a bespoke series of textiles for Bristol Beacon’s two transformed auditoriums. She has collaborated with Bristol-based fabric designers and textile trend consultancy Dash & Miller to assist with translating her work into the design of new fabrics that can accommodate a double layered pattern which shifts and moves depending on your position in the space. Her work includes large tapestry-like suspended surfaces and bespoke upholstery for the auditorium seats.
Her work ranges from drawings, paintings and wall-based sculptures to large-scale public art projects and she is known for her understanding and use of light and colour.
“My initial response to the brief was to look at the architecture, the colours, and geometry. I wanted to develop something that reflects the diversity of sound performed in the halls through rhythms, patterns and repetition. It was important that the work responded to different qualities of light and creates movement.”Rana Begum
“It’s been a very collaborative process with Dash & Miller. I was keen to work with the local creative industries, because it brings a different perspective and history into the project.”Rana Begum
Rana’s work focuses on the interplay between light and colour, blurring the boundaries between sculpture, painting and architecture. Her use of repetitive geometric patterns – found both within Islamic art and the industrial cityscape – takes its inspiration from childhood memories of the rhythmic repetition of daily recitals of the Qur’an.
Influenced by the geometric abstraction of minimalism and constructivism and the work of artists such as Agnes Martin, Donald Judd, Jesús Rafael de Soto and Tess Jaray, Rana’s work ranges from drawings, paintings and sculptures to large-scale public art projects.
Light is fundamental to her process. Her works absorb and reflect varied densities of light to produce an experience for the viewer that is both temporal and sensorial.
Rana is constantly making new work and has an international profile. In 2023 she has held exhibitions in the Bermuda National Gallery, The Box Plymouth, Whitechapel London, New Art Gallery Walsall, Dubai, Dhaka Art Summit, Alserkal Art Week and Seol. She has also created special commissions for Art of London on Piccadilly, London and for Desert X in Palm Springs California as well as being the subject of a new bilingual English and Bengali children’s book, The Girl who played with Colour.
Dash & Miller are an international textile studio working out of Bristol who regularly work with trend agencies, fashion houses, fabric manufacturers, lifestyle brands, editors and contract suppliers to inform and inspire the creation of wonderful fabrics. Their hand-crafted approach to industrial design combines with their breadth of experience to provide relevant and unique design-work. They have been appointed to help Rana translate her designs into the new medium of textiles.
They recently worked with Gary Fabian Miller on a series of hand-made tapestries for his Cibachrome series shown in the Arnolfini.
Field Art Projects was set up in 1999 by Theresa Bergne, a curator and producer based in Bristol commissioning artists to work in the public realm across the UK and abroad.
In the southwest she has delivered permanent artworks for Southmead Hospital, the Universities of Bristol and the West of England, for North Somerset Council in Weston-super-Mare as well as programmes led through community engagement in Hengrove and Barton Hill.
For the Bristol Beacon Transformation she has led the commissioning process, inviting the four artists to respond to music and sound and celebrate an artform that can be enjoyed both on an intense personal level and as a joyful communal experience.
Bristol Beacon is a place of welcome warmth and light.
The Beacon invites music makers, music lovers and music explorers of every kind to enjoy their spaces at Bristol Beacon, as well as Beacon Music Centre – their creative learning base in Southmead.
When you visit you can expect a friendly welcome. From meeting friends for coffee in the café, to joining for music lessons and live performances. The Beacon helps make space for you to experience the joy of music.