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Hans Op de Beeck, “Short Stories”

Stockholm, 14.11–19.12  2020

Galleri Andersson/Sandström is proud to present a solo exhibition with the Belgian artist Hans Op de Beeck. This is the gallery’s first presentation with Op de Beeck.

Hans Op de Beeck creates 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. 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.

The title of the exhibition Short Stories refers to the idea that each work in the exhibition carries its own story; inviting, relatable and intense. In the meeting between fictional characters and places, the thought and thus the world of dreams is opened. In the works’ visual ambiguity, the clues linger in the shadows. Through the works, the artist encourages self-reflection, the works ask questions about the meaning of life. Like us, his characters struggle with the complexities of today’s society and with themes such as memory, absence and loss.

In the installation “My bed a raft, the room the sea, and then I laughed some gloom in me”, the viewer meets a girl sleeping on a bed on a lily-covered pond. The bed floats over a raft. The feeling of floating becomes a metaphor for the dream and the raft a metaphor for capitulation, and something she cannot control herself. In the installation, the girl’s bedroom merges with the world of dreams. The life-size sculpture ‘Dancer’ presents a Brazilian dancer during an ‘off’ moment. Resigned, and with her eyes closed, she is smoking a cigarette, seated in an old Chesterfield chair. Her exuberant clothing, with an impressive crown of plumes, contrasts sharply with the performer who is clearly not performing and taking a quiet moment for herself. The sculpture expresses a frozen, silenced down cheerfulness.

The hummingbird, considered a symbol for the joy of life and the lightness of being, seems to want to indulge in the frozen time. In “Timo (marbles) (small version) a boy is sitting on a pedestal, in front of him lie glass balls. In Op de Beeck’s world his people are often portrayed doing everyday chores – with everyday things as a cigarette, headphones or a handful of berries. The gray stone-like surface of the sculptures refers to the ancient Pompeii, where the inhabitants after the devastating volcanic eruption were buried in ashes and immortalized in everyday poses. Through the sculptures, the artist communicates everyday poetry. Their closed eyes express a meditative state. The viewer is encouraged to submit to their own dreams through imagination rather than psychoanalysis.

Hans Op de Beeck, was born in Turnhout in 1969. He lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. Op De Beeck has had several important exhibitions around the world, institutional as well as solo presentations on, among others. GEM Museum of Contemporary Art in The Hague, MUHKA Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, Kunstmuseum Thun, Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos, Burgos, Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, Kunstverein Hannover , Tampa Museum of Art, Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville USA, FRAC Paca, Marseille, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Boston, MOCA Cleveland, Collection Goetz, Munich, Screen Space, Melbourne, Château de Chimay, Espace 104, Paris, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Fondazione Pino Pascali, Italy, Kunstraum Dornbirn, Germany. 

Works in the exhibition: