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
born in Turnhout in 1969
lives and works in Brussels, Belgium
Les Moulins, Boissy-le-Châtel, FR
Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam, Amsterdam, NL
Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, DE
Fondazione Pino Pascali, Polignano a Mare, IT
Kunstraum Dornbirn DE
Museum Morsbroich, DE
Espace 104, Paris, FR
Space, Melbourne, AU
Château de Chimay, Chimay BE
MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Boston MA, US
MOCA Cleveland, OH, US
Sammlung Goetz, Munich, DE
Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, USA
the Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, FL, USA
FRAC Paca, Marseille, F
Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, IRL
Kunstverein Hannover, D
the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, US
Kunstmuseum Thun, CH
Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos, Burgos, ES
Centraal Museum, Utrecht, NL
MUHKA Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, B
He had substantial institutional solo shows at the GEM Museum of Contemporary Art of The Hague, The Hague, NL