Hans Op de Beeck: T–Mart

1 October 2005 - 1 November 2005

Hales Gallery, London, UK

Hales Gallery is pleased to present Belgian artist, Hans Op de Beeck’s third solo show at the gallery. For five weeks the gallery will be taken over by Op de Beeck’s large installation piece T-Mart, which was last shown at MuHKA, Antwerp (Spring 2005). A series of recent drawings by Op de Beeck will also be shown.

T-Mart is a notional hypermarket that sells everything. Architecturally, the installation mimics typical Belgian shopping centres: a windowless brutalist sprawl, with an optimistically large car park. Although the shelves are empty, the layout incorporates sections for all our consumerist desires, while the streetlamps diligently illuminate the scarred landscape, ready for the onslaught.

In his work, Op de Beeck draws attention to the systems that are in place behind the scenes, reminding us of how we are manipulated at every turn through signage and product placement, traffic systems and surveillance.

The roof of the model has been removed and an animation projected on to the floor plan - strobing lines and pixels, like barcodes and data streams, stand in for the actual goods. The scale of the aisles and shelving remains ambiguous, this could be a supermarket, a microchip or the streets of a whole city, so that, again, control seems to operate at all levels.

Yet Op de Beeck transforms the anxiety of everyday technology into something that is more romantic or melancholic rather than tragic or sinister. Working from communal archetypes and his own partial memories, Op de Beeck gives wistful form to collective experiences. He draws lines around the work that include us within its function and structure; the world is reframed so that familiar relationships are defamiliarised, tainted with what we suspect has been laying in wait for some time.

Op de Beeck’s recent solo shows have included Meanwhile…. at GEM, The Gemeente Museum, The Hague (2004) and T-Mart, at MuHKA, Antwerp (2005).
His work has also been included in shows at Renia Sofia, Madrid (2004) and the Whitechapel project space (2004).