ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Cabinet of Curiosities

Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam

Galerie Ron Mandos proudly presents Cabinet of Curiosities by Hans Op de Beeck, including sculptures, watercolors and video. Op de Beeck’s newest series of sculptures is a contemporary interpretation of the Wunderkammer – a cabinet filled with a wide range of curiosities. This longstanding tradition of collecting cultural and natural objects originates from the European Renaissance. With his work, Op de Beeck reflects on our complex society and the universal questions of meaning and mortality that resonate within it. The exhibition will be on view from 8 September until 27 October 2018.

Cabinet of Curiosities’ monochrome grey display cases show a variety of sculptural interpretations of memorable objects. These ash-grey artefacts resemble fossilized gems or archaeological finds, brought together by a fictive, anonymous collector. The display cases seem to have been stripped of all their sheen and left behind as silent, abandoned units. The collections of curiosities in each cabinet bridge the thin line between value and worthlessness, uniqueness and banality, emphasising the importance of stories in bringing a still object to life.

Simultaneously with Cabinet of Curiosities, Sea of Tranquillity will be on view at The National Maritime Museum, which will run until 9 June 2019. The exhibition presents a dark, mysterious picture of a mythical cruise ship, featuring an immersive, atmospheric film with no dialogue, the theme song of which is composed by Op de Beeck. In addition, Sea of Tranquillity presents an illuminated model ship, display cases, as well as lifelike sculptures.

About the artist
Hans Op de Beeck (BE, 1969) produces large installations, sculptures, films, drawings, paintings, photographs and texts. He regards man as a being who stages the world around him in a tragi-comic way. Above all, Op de Beeck is keen to stimulate the viewers’ senses, and invite them to really experience the image. He seeks to create a form of visual fiction that delivers a moment of wonder, silence and introspection.

Recent solo exhibitions include Kunstraum Dornbirn, Dornbirn, AU (2017); Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, DE (2017); Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, DE (2017); Fondazione Museo Pino Pascali, Polignano a Mare, IT (2017); Espace 104, Paris, FR (2016); Art Unlimited, Basel, CH (2016); Screen Space, Melbourne, AU (2015); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Boston MA, US (2014); MOCA Cleveland, OH, US (2014); Sammlung Goetz, Munich, D (2014); Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, USA (2013); the Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, FL, USA (2013); FRAC Paca, Marseille, F (2013).

Op de Beeck has participated in numerous group shows at institutions such as Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels, BE; The Reina Sofia, Madrid, ES; the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ, US; the Towada Art Center, Towada, JP; ZKM, Karlsruhe, DE; MACRO, Rome, IT; the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, GB; PS1, New York, NY, US; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR.

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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