ABOUT THE FAIR

Booth 03, Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam

Galerie Ron Mandos proudly presents works by: Hans Op de Beeck (BE, 1969), Mohau Modisakeng (SA, 1986), Anouk Kruithof (NL, 1981) and Vytautas Kumža, winner of Best of Graduates Ron Mandos Photo Talent Award 2017 (LT, 1992).

Hans Op de Beeck (BE, 1969) The Room series consists of large black-and-white pictures, in which the artist concentrates on the loss of self, moments in which a person in an interior slips into a state of mental absence. The interiors provide information about the presumed life and social background of the person portrayed, as well as the specific moment and the stage of life that the individual has reached. This series of images in photographic form is closely related to the traditional art of painting. The artificial nature of the setting is never denied in these obviously constructed images. 

Mohau Modisakeng (SA, 1986) focuses in his works on how to understand the cultural, political, and social roles as human beings in post-colonial Africa and in particular post-apartheid South Africa. Passage refers to life as a voyage as in Setswana language the experience of life is referred to as a ‘passage’. As such, all human beings are referred to as passengers, a word that highlights the fact that life is fleeting. The theme of life as a journey is visualised in images where we are confronted with a young woman and two men travelling by boat, over sea. 

Anouk Kruithof (NL, 1981) Her artworks establish a curious relationship with the tremendous abundance of present-day imagery, a plenitude which seems so natural to us that it remains nearly imperceptible. In this field of tension there are various individual and collective identity blueprints, as well as social, institutional and personal representations which build a political sphere of their own. With her works, she investigates such pictorial procedures, dismantles and disassembles them, takes them apart in order to reconstruct and reassemble them in new ways. 

Vytautas Kumža (LT, 1992) recently graduated at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and is this years winner of the Best Of Graduates Photography Award at Galerie Ron Mandos. Kumža is very interested in how images are constructed. His fascination for 1980’s commercial studio photography and the use of different techniques led to this series of artworks. Using only materials in his photographs and no post-production he was able to provoke small accidents which led to surprising results and showing the process, the backstage, of the photograph. 

ABOUT Hans Op de Beeck

Hans Op de Beeck was born in 1969 in Turnhout, BE
He lives and works in Brussels, BE

Visual artist Hans Op de Beeck lives and works in Brussels, where he has developed his career through international exhibitions over the past twenty years. His work consists of sculptures, installations, video work, photography, animated films, drawings, paintings and writing (short stories). It is his quest for the most effective way of presenting the concrete contents of each work that determines the medium that the artist ultimately selects. The scale can vary from the size of a small watercolour to a large, three-dimensional installation of 600m2.

The artist not only uses a very wide variety of media, but also deliberately employs a diversity of aesthetic forms, ranging from an economical, minimalist visual language to overloaded, exaggerated designs, always with the aim of articulating the content of the work as precisely as possible.

Thematically, the work concentrates on our laborious and problematic relationship with time, space and each other. Op de Beeck shows the viewer non-existent, but identifiable places, moments and characters that appear to have been taken from contemporary everyday life, aiming thereby to capture in his images the tragicomic absurdity of our postmodern existence. Key themes are the disappearance of distances, the disembodiment of the individual and the abstraction of time that have resulted from globalisation and the changes to our living environment that developments in media, automation and technology have brought about.

Hans Op de Beeck sometimes calls his works “proposals”; they are irrefutably fictional, constructed and staged, leaving it up to the viewer whether to take the work seriously, as a sort of parallel reality, or immediately to put it into perspective, as no more than a visual construct. His work is nourished by a keen interest in social and cultural reflection. The artist also questions the difficult relationship between reality and representation, between what we see and what we want to believe, between what is and what we create for ourselves in order to make it easier to deal with our own insignificance and lack of identity. The visual output of that investigation often produces slumbering, insidious, melancholy and astonishing images.

Multi-disciplinary artist Hans Op de Beeck creates interworlds. Suspended between past and future, fiction and reality, his works sound out a mirage-like contemporary universe and a sensory vertigo where the familiar rubs shoulders with the strange. From installation to sculpture, from video to animated film, from short stories to painting and drawing, from photography to sound material, the media he employs seem to converge on the definition of a topos: a mental theatre that projects the viewer into a reflexive social and cultural experience, the intimate thinking of the human condition. —Eva Prouteau

Op de Beeck has shown his work extensively in solo and group exhibitions around the world. He has had substantial institutional solo shows at the GEM Museum of Contemporary Art of The Hague, The Hague, NL (2004); MUHKA Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, BE (2006); Centraal Museum, Utrecht, NL (2007); the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, US (2010); Kunstmuseum Thun, CH (2010); Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos, Burgos, ES (2010); Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, IRL (2012); Kunstverein Hannover, D (2012); Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, USA (2013); the Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, FL, USA (2013); FRAC Paca, Marseille, F (2013); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Boston MA, US (2014); MOCA Cleveland, OH, US (2014); Sammlung Goetz, Munich, D (2014); Screen Space, Melbourne, AU (2015); Espace 104, Paris, FR (2016); Art Unlimited, Basel, CH (2016); Kunstraum Dornbirn, Dornbirn, AU (2017); Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, DE (2017); Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, DE (2017); Fondazione Museo Pino Pascali, Polignano a Mare, IT (2017); His work is included in museum collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Royal Museum for Modern and Fine Arts, Brussels; Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar; Museum Arnhem, Arnhem; the ING Art Collection, Amsterdam; the Akzo Nobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam, and Cobra to Contemporary/The Brown Family Collection.

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ABOUT Mohau Modisakeng

Born in 1986 in Soweto, South Africa
Lives and works between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Material, metaphor and the black body are the tools that Mohau Modisakeng uses to explore the influence of South Africa’s violent history that has been ignored in today’s society, on how we understand our cultural, political, and social roles as human beings in post-colonial Africa and in particular post-apartheid South Africa. Represented through film, large-scale photographic prints, installations and performances, his “work doesn’t start off with an attempt to portray violence but it becomes mesmerising because although we might recognise history as our past, the body is indifferent to social changes, so it remembers.”

Born in Soweto, an epicentre of black urbanity and cosmopolitan culture, the multi-award winning Mohau Modisakeng is a product of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art. Mentored by Jane Alexander and predominantly working and training in sculpture, he completed his undergraduate degree in 2009 then completed his Masters degree at the same institution. He was awarded the SASOL New Signatures Award for 2011 and has exhibited at Armory Show, New York (2016); Saatchi Gallery, London (2012); Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar (2012); Focus 11 and Basel (2011). In 2013 Modisakeng produced an ambitious new video work in association with Samsung as a special project for the 2013 FNB Joburg Art Fair. His work is included in public collections such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town and SAATCHI Gallery, London as well as significant private collections such as Zeitz MOCAA.

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