Hans Op de Beeck stages a magical 'garden of whispers' within a french gothic church
Nina Azzarello | DesignBoom, 10 October 2016
Within the gothic church of the jacobins in toulouse, artist hans op de beeck has staged an immersive, fictional environment that leads visitors through ‘the garden of whispers’. op de beeck has woven a makeshift wooden pathway through the vast, inner expanse of the 13th century brick edifice, snaking through large dunes of sand, bare tree branches, simple strands of light, and a full-scale campsite. sculpted onsite, the installation becomes an ‘emotion-oriented courtyard’, where visitors are promoted to introspectively reflect on the scenes around them.
throughout this magical and mysterious place, a soundscape of whispering voices resounds — a subtle blend of ritualistic narrations and tones. as spectators walk over the swaying wooden jetty through hilly, sandy, and scenic surroundings, they are met by a series of small elaborated installations. crudely-constructed shelters feature a tableau of ephemera, including hanging pots and pans, soft bedding, and a fireplace.
here, op de beeck has staged a number of serene figures that quietly perform mundane, everyday acts. from time to time, these silent live performers offer tea to visitors. overall, ‘the garden of whispers’ incorporates a range of historical, religious and mythological references, yet most importantly, aims to offer a profound experience of the present, regardless of explicit references.