The Conversation

14 March 2019 - 20 April 2019

Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, AT

In 'The Conversation' Hans Op de Beeck’s 5th solo exhibition at Galerie Krinzinger, the artist brings together new sculpted characters, which evince a great sense of recognisability and everydayness in their pose and appearance. The sculptures are not intended as portraits of specific people, but seek to speak in a small and unspectacular way of our dealings with others, the world, moments in our lives and feelings. The artist does this with great empathy, sometimes with mild irony, slight absurdity or in a somewhat surreal manner.
Hans Op de Beeck started to sculpt the human figure a few years ago, in addition to creating large and immersive sculptural installations, video works, two-dimensional work, theatre and opera work.
The eponymous work The Conversation shows two older men with having a conversation with each other. For some reason they are both standing on a small folding ladder while their briefcases are placed on the floor, which suggests that they are both either coming from work, or on their way to it. We can only guess as to what they are talking about. The Cliff (wall piece) presents a teenage couple sitting on a rock. The surrounding landscape is left to the imagination. Resigned, and with her eyes closed, Dancer is smoking a cigarette. Her exuberant clothing, with an impressive crown of plumes, contrasts sharply with the performer who is not performing and is taking a quiet moment for herself. All figures are somehow caught in a quiet or solitary moment or in a state of dream or play.
My bed a raft, the room the sea, and then I laughed some gloom in me (small version) is a scaled-down version of the eponymous large-scale work. A girl lies asleep on her back in a bed with an open book on her stomach. Next to the bed, there are more books, a glass of water and sleeping pills. Her mattress floats above a wooden raft that floats on a dark body of water amongst cane stalks and water lilies. It is as if she is moving from her dream world to the raft on the water. Home presents an elderly couple in nightwear in front of the facade of a common rowhouse. They have left the cocoon of their living room, the door is ajar, the shutters have been lowered. It seems as if they have taken to the street in the nightly hours, to see what is going on. Timo (small version) is a sculpture of a boy, barefoot and bare-chested, ready to shoot a toy arrow from a bow. His eyes are closed, as if he were, for a moment, deeply breathing through the nose, concentrating on shooting. Brian (small version) is a sculpture of a bald boy sitting cross-legged, holding a glass ball in both hands, he seems to be residing elsewhere, as in a moment of deep meditation.
He is currently also exhibiting his solo show “The Cliff” at the Kunsthalle Krems (Austria).