The Pond Room
6 February 2017 - 10 September 2017
Kunstraum Dornbirn, DE
The work of the Belgian artist Hans Op de Beeck is interdisciplinary. It comprises large installations, sculptures, films, videos, photographic works, pictures, drawings, texts, theatre and music.
Op de Beeck combines banal and decorative objects, everyday postures and traditional poses, nature and culture into fascinating environments.
Of his artistic work Op de Beeck has written: “The works are a commentary on our tragic-comic human condition, on how we manipulate our living space, in things great and small, in the manner of a stage set, and on how in this anthropomorphized environment we attempt to ward off our irrelevance and mortality with rituals and habits.
“All this may sound rather weighty. The art works themselves, however, are neither dramatic nor ponderous, but rather salted with a considerable pinch of absurdity and humour. Much of the tragedy lies between the lines, revealed as mutedly and subtly as possible.”
For the assembly hall, Op de Beeck has created a fictive, monochrome, mystical garden landscape around a central pond. Surrounded by trees and monumental rocks, interspersed by Chesterfield sofas, the atmosphere evoked by the artist appears to suspend our earthly perception of time. The room-filling work sensitizes our perception of the environment and nature; we leave the conventional system of reference behind, lose our everyday relation to time, and find ourselves in a meditative and multi-sensory situation.
The video Staging Silence (2), which is presented in a kind of a garden shed, shows in a static camera position two anonymous hands that are constantly visualizing changing but always desolate landscapes and places by the simplest means. Splendid views of a big city alternate with untouched, jungle-like swathes of land, changing into mystically dark places and disintegrating in the end. Op de Beeck succeeds in conjuring up strikingly realistic realities and coupling them with memories of our history, so as ultimately to create the feeling of a timeless state of mind in an unknown place.