ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Hans Op de Beeck

Amsterdam

*"Still Lifes" (2010 - …)* is a new, ongoing series of sculpted tables each of which consist of a number of objects brought together in an associative manner. Sculptural, life-sized interpretations of everyday objects such a piece of fruit, a bottle, a book, a cup of coffee, a pack of cigarettes or a trio of dice are combined with objects on a reduced scale, such as furniture pieces or small models of fictitious architectural forms. The tabletop is used as a small stage, a platform on which small, silent, intimate worlds are created. These table sculptures, all executed in the same monochrome grey synthetic gypsum, refer to our daily life as well as to the heritage and the tradition of painting. The collections of objects at different scales are reminiscent of for example the Renaissance Wunderkammer, the silence of Giorgio Morandi's still lifes or the associative compositions and questioning of the status of the real and the represented by René Magritte. Because of the use of the grey gypsum also Pompeii and the archeological object come to mind.

The video work *“Staging Silence” (2009)* is based around abstract, archetypal settings that lingered in the memory of the artist as the common denominator of the many similar public places he has experienced. The video images themselves are both ridiculous and serious, just like the eclectic mix of pictures in our minds. The decision to film in black and white heightens this ambiguity: the improvised nature of the video invokes the legacy of slapstick, as well as the insidious suspense and latent derailment of film noir.

_Op de Beeck has shown his work extensively in solo and group exhibitions in recent years. The Aichi Triennial 2010 (Aichi), Spheres 2009, Palais de Tokyo (Paris), MARTa Herford (Herford), Hangar Bicocca (Milan), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Reina Sofia (Madrid), the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (Arizona), the Towada Art Center (Towada), the ZKM (Karlsruhe), the MACRO (Rome), the 6th Shanghai Biennale (Shanghai), the Kunstverein Hannover (Hanover), the Whitechapel Art Gallery (London), the Singapore Biennale (Republic of Singapore) and the PS1 (New York) are just some of the internationally prominent gallery spaces where the artist has been invited to exhibit._

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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