Hans Op de Beeck: In their minds...

4 March 2005 - 2 April 2005

Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, Chelsea, New York, US

Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery is pleased to present In Their Minds, the first New York solo exhibition of the Belgian artist, Hans Op de Beeck. The exhibition opens Friday, March 4, from 6 – 8 pm, and continues through April 2, 2005.

In Their Minds references a child’s memory and fantasy through the ambiance of the amusement ride. Hans Op de Beeck examines the programmability of enjoyment by showing the rides as ridiculous objects for children. He takes us through the child’s world of innocence while simultaneously exposing the creation of man made adult “games” that depict the amusement industry’s dubious offerings for the child’s quest to find magic. Op de Beeck utilizes his understanding of the intangible existing within the space between object and man. The work takes the viewer through an existential concept he defines as “nowhere,” while evoking an expectation of outcome.

Op de Beeck created three life sized sculptures for this exhibition. Merry go round removes any sentiment associated with this ride by enshrouding the carousel, transforming it into something cryptic and ambiguous to interpretation. Car and Helicopter take coin operated stationary rides found outside supermarkets and turns them into a slow and faltering kinetic trip to the toy’s death, while standing in contrast between weak lighting and the pitch dark austerity of the object.

Determination is a series of light box photographs. The artist asked a group of twenty-one children to close their eyes and transport themselves somewhere else or imagine that they are someone else. All but the acute feeling of concentration is left on these images as almost all color is drained from them. The dreamlike somnambulism of these pictures visualizes where man’s unconscious journey ultimately begins – through the internal world of the child. He shows how one is determined by what happens in one’s life, which in turn determines the rest of it. While better known for sculptural installation and video, Shapes is a series of pencil drawings on paper that work alongside the three dimensional works in the exhibition. Op de Beeck has long explored how the purity of a child’s fantasy blatantly depicts the sometimes charming or difficult reality in a landscape created by the adult world.

On view in the small gallery is a video entitled Blender, featuring an unmanned amusement carousel situated in the hot midday sun. As the carousel increases in acceleration it becomes impossible to distinguish any shape in its frenzied movement. Hauntingly reminiscent of time immemorial the video is accompanied by the sound of children, distorted organ music and vague indistinguishable noise speaks of the cycle of the human condition. The carousel slows down to a stop, bringing a temporary moment of calm as the horses and carriages emerge from a sense of chaos, before taking off again.

Hans Op de Beeck currently lives and works in Brussels. In 2003, he was Belgium’s artist in residence at the MoMA/P.S.1 Studio Program in New York. Op de Beeck’s work has been the subject of several exhibitions, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, the Museum of Contemporary Art in The Hague, Musée des Archives d'Architecture Moderne in Brussels and at the Miami Basel and Basel art fairs.