Galleria Continua GALLERIA CONTINUA | Galleria d'arte contemporanea
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Galleria Continua
San Gimignano
Beijing
Les Moulins
Habana
Roma

A silence permeates his sculpture encouraging a moment to pause and reflect. Op de Beeck's enchanting monochromatic world evokes something of the Northern Romantic tradition with its melancholy sublime.

The Horseman

Lily

The Boatman

Dog (bronze)

“In a very natural and obvious way, a kind of distance and alienation sneaks into my imagery, yes, quite unconsciously. But there is also the conscious choice to isolate and abstract aspects of the complexity of life from the bigger picture. I like to detach, knead, direct and show” - Hans Op de Beeck

The Cliff (wall piece)

Mum and Dad

The Hideout

Vanitas (Variation) 29

‘Mum and Dad’ is a 1/2 scale sculpture of an aged couple on the lookout in their dressing gowns, as if something happened on the street at night, and they want to find out what's going on from the doorway. Their body language and facial expression speak volumes about their age and their relationship.

Celeste & Egon

Celeste (smoking)

Romeo

Anthony

This exhibition speaks about our growing pains, the search for identity, the difficulties and awkwardness inherent to our existence, but also about our dreams and hopes for a better future and the search for peace and wonder.

Hans Op de Beeck: The Horseman and other stories

In addition to his well-known large-scale, immersive installations, sculptures, art films, watercolours and theatre and opera work, Hans Op de Beeck has also been creating autonomous sculptures of human figures for a number of years now.

Although numerous women, men and children have posed in the artist's studio over the years, these sculptures are not portraits of them, but rather fictional figures, characters who –alone or in dialogue with a second person– tell a universal story in which timelessness and topicality are brought together.

'The Horseman and other stories' mainly presents elaborately detailed human figures. They are mostly depicted in a moment of rest, or while performing a trivial daily action.

'The Horseman', a life-size sculpture of a man on a horse, presents us with an enigmatic, nomadic horseman, a figure that evokes both to the lonely traveller of all times and the homeless migrant of today, in search of a better life. His companion is a little monkey sitting on his shoulder, holding a parasol in its hand to protect its owner from the sun. The horse carries handy work tools on the flanks and small collections of banal as well as mysterious objects that presumably are of great importance to the traveller.

‘The Boatman’ is a life-size statue of a man on a small rowing boat, seemingly pushing the boat away from a bank. Like 'The Horseman', he is a homeless loner, a middle-aged man, halfway through life, always on the move. He has packed his whole life together on the small boat; means of survival, personal belongings and goods that he can offer for sale or exchange are stacked and tied up in an improvised way.

‘Mum and Dad’ is a 1/2 scale sculpture of an aged couple on the lookout in their dressing gowns, as if something happened on the street at night, and they want to find out what's going on from the doorway. Their body language and facial expression speak volumes about their age and their relationship.

In 2015 Op de Beeck made a film with puppets, animated live by puppeteers dressed in black. With 'Celeste & Egon' and 'Celeste (smoking)', he takes up the concept of the representation of man as a doll. The dolls are sculpted from wood, and the limbs are connected by the typical doll joints. For the artist, the human doll contains a feeling of defencelessness and silent tragedy. In the work 'Celeste & Egon' we see the vulnerability of the male protagonist who has fallen and the helplessness and doubt of the female character. In 'Celeste (smoking)' we see the female character alone, in a moment of contemplation, with the so human, simple act of smoking a cigarette and taking a break.

‘The Cliff (wall piece)’ features an adolescent couple sitting atop a headland on the edge of the precipice. The girl’s open gaze lingers in the distance, as if preoccupied with something beyond the setting, while the boy’s attention is entirely focused on her. It is a bittersweet image of young love’s vagaries laced with innocence and designed to appeal to the viewer’s sentiment. The story of childhood, of growing up, is represented as a form of sublime enchantment punctuated by the overwhelming perception of a world not yet lived to which we are enticed to return. It also highlights Op de Beeck’s recurring concern with change, where different stages of our lives are punctuated with the weight of waiting before transitioning into a new phase – here, the advent of first love signals the passage into adulthood and the loss of innocence.

‘The Hideout’ is a showcase made at the artist’s studio, with on the inside a sculpture of a nocturnal landscape on scale. At the highest point of the unruly rocky landscape is a bare tree with a treehouse in which a light burns as if someone is present. The background of the landscape is a starry sky. The scene appears like a fairy-tale like, congealed memory.

‘Lily’ is a sculpted, classic still-life of a most slender table with a draped tablecloth and a vase with a graceful branch with lily flowers. The extreme verticality of the work emphasises its vulnerability as well as the feeling of the flowers reaching up to the sky.

‘Dog’ is a life-size sculpture of a sleeping dog, a very simple and everyday scene, which speaks of the calm and tranquillity of the passing of time.

‘Vanitas (variation) 29’ is a monochrome grey sculpture of a baroque still life on a tablecloth, in which, by free association, classical and contemporary ornamented elements were brought together to form a visually festive whole. Nevertheless, as befits the Vanitas tradition, it is also a memento mori.

As a whole, this exhibition speaks about our growing pains, the search for identity, the difficulties and awkwardness inherent to our existence, but also about our dreams and hopes for a better future and the search for peace and wonder.


Press Release

Comunicato
Press Release

[Ralf Beil. Hans Op de Beeck. WORKS, Lannoo Publisher, 2017]

Hans Op de Beeck is a narrator of stories between the lines, without beginning or end, often intriguing, generally melancholy, always intense. At the same time he asks what spaces trigger in us and, through the atmospheric density of his works, leads us to a more precise and intense sense of perception. He pulls us out of our everyday lives and enables us to travel into his extremely peculiar, highly acratic works, the strange time of which, suspended beyond reality, allow us - paradoxically - to become that much more conscious of ourselves ad our own living conditions.

In his novel The Moviegoer Walker Percy wrote: ‘The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life’ Hans Op de Beeck abducts us into and, with all our sense, out our ordinariness - it is up to us to continue along this path ‘out of the ordinary'.



Hans Op de Beeck (be) produces large installations, sculptures, films, drawings, paintings, photographs and texts.

His work is a reflection on our complex society and the universal questions of meaning and mortality that resonate within it.

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.

Hans Op de Beeck was born in Turnhout in 1969. He lives and works in Brussels and Gooik, Belgium. Op de Beeck has shown his work extensively in solo and group exhibitions around the world.

He 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, B (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, DE (2014); Screen Space, Melbourne, AU (2015); Château de Chimay, Chimay BE (2015); Espace 104, Paris, FR (2016); Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, DE (2017); Fondazione Pino Pascali, Polignano a Mare, IT (2017); Kunstraum Dornbirn, DE (2017); Museum Morsbroich, DE (2017); Les Moulins, Boissy-le-Châtel, FR (2018); Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam, Amsterdam, NL (2018); Kunsthalle Krems, Krems an der Donau, AT (2019); …

Op de Beeck has participated in numerous group shows at institutions such as 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; Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Köln, DE; Hangar Bicocca, Milano, IT; the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, JP; 21C Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, US; The Drawing Center, New York, NY, US; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, AT; Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, CN; MAMBA, Buenos Aires, AR; Haus der Kunst, Munich, DE; Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Bologna, IT; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, DE; Musée des Beaux Arts de Caen, Caen, FR; Kunstraum Dornbirn, Dornbirn, AU; Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, DE; Den Frie Center of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, DK; Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels, BE; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, DE; Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf, DE; ....

His work has been invited for the Venice Biennale, Venice, IT; the Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, CN; the Aichi Triennale, Aichi, JP; the Singapore Biennale, Singapore, SG; Art Summer University, Tate Modern, London, GB; the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, IN; Art Basel Miami Beach, US; Art Basel Unlimited, Basel, CH, Setouchi Triennale, Japan (JP) and many other art events.