Kids, Cabinets, Pictures, Ponds
13 May 2018 - 30 September 2019
Galleria Continua - Les Moulins, Boissy-le-Châtel, FR
For his solo exhibition at Les Moulins, which also presents his latest film ‘The Girl’, Op de Beeck brings together new sculptural and photographic works into one larger whole, a feast for the senses.
On the ground floor, he stages a kind of hiking trail with gravel and small sculpted ponds - as if it were a small, indoor park - in which the spectator discovers life-size sculpted figures of children and a young woman. These silent figures in everyday poses, all of them with their eyes closed, seem lost in thought yet simultaneously caught in a moment of high concentration. There is, for example, a boy meditatively holding a crystal ball in his hands, a boy who just closed his eyes before shooting an arrow with a toy bow, and a young woman listening to music.
In addition, there are also a number of monochrome grey display cases in which the most diverse sculptural interpretations of keepsake objects were brought together. The ash-grey artefacts look like fossilized gems or archaeological finds, brought together by a fictitious, anonymous collector. In the tradition of the Wunderkammer of the European Renaissance (Cabinet of Curiosities), the collections of curiosities in each cabinet seem anachronistic and of the most diverse origin. The display cases bridge the thin line between valuable and worthless, between specialness and banality and the importance of stories to bring a still object to life. They are display cases that seem to have been stripped of all their lustre and left behind as silent, abandoned units.
Here, the viewer can take place in sculpted sofas set up in different places, as in a kind of surreal game that plays with the notions of interior and exterior.
Also on the ground floor is the entrance to a projection room. Op de Beeck’s most recent film ‘The Girl’ (2017) lets the viewer follow a fourteen-year-old girl as she lives an isolated existence in an old trailer near a lake, a highway and a dark forest. The underlying story gives a
lot of cause for thought. Why is she alone, presumably parentless? How does she organize her day, how does she survive? What thoughts are going through her? Why is she floating so resignedly on a lake?
On the first floor, Op de Beeck presents for the first time a large collection of black and white photos in which the idea of the staging of the image is explored in a variety of ways. Fictional natural landscapes as well as interiors and characters appear as life-sized or reduced-scale constructions. For the first time, Op de Beeck also shows a number of work photos that were made in the studio. The photographs address, among other things, man’s tragicomic desire for staging, ranging from furnishing a living room, setting up a party table to shaping the public space. The images blend high and low culture, authenticity and artificiality, taste and bad taste, seriousness and light-footedness.