Monochromatic Life-Size Sculptures Highlight the Innocence of Childhood
Jessica Stewart | My Modern Met, 26 May 2018
Known for his large installations, Belgian artist Hans Op de Beeck is also a skilled sculptor whose desaturated figures often find their way into his immersive experiences. His life-size monochromatic sculptures often depict children in states of play, wonder, and reflection, helping build a multi-sensory experience for the viewer. Op de Beeck's sculptures are typically created from polyester, wood, and pigmented plaster. The lifelike figures are striking for their lack of color, which allows viewers to focus on the form and emotional impact of the sculpture without distraction. The artist's sculptures are sometimes presented singularly, while at other times they are woven into his immersive art installations.
For his 2016 sculpture installation The Collector's House, a 2,600-square-foot space was transformed into a fictive art collection and Wunderkammer where the only color is provided by visitors entering the space. Here, monochromatic sculptures stand frozen in time, such as a little girl in the midst of playing Cat's Cradle. Their presence adds a timeless, human presence to the stark setting.
Op de Beeck's art is a reflection on universal questions of mortality and meaning. Sculptures like Brian, where a young boy holds a crystal ball, mirrors the artist's intention. What is the boy pondering while gazing into the ball? Where will his future lead him and what will be his life's journey? Calm and introspective, he seems untroubled by what he sees. Instead, works like Tatiana (Soap Bubble) and Tatiana (Butterfly) remind us of the carefree nature of childhood, unburdened by the worries adult life brings.