Hans Op de Beeck - The Cliff: Dark Grey Dreams
Iris Stoeckl | Art Magazine, 8 March 2019
Do not psychologists ask the classic question: Do you dream in colour or in black and white?
According to research by Eva Murzyn, who has carried out test series at the University of Dundee, it is concluded that the perception of colour in a dream depends on whether you grew up with a black-and-white TV or with a colour television. This question should also be asked to Hans op de Beeck.
One understands the approach and knows that the 1969 Belgium born director, choreographer, curator, stage designer, painter and sculptor, does not want to simulate reality, but rather interprets it by creating fictional environments in which one can perceive the echo of reality. The exhibition The Cliff , which is named after one of the main works of the exhibition at the Kunsthalle Krems, was curated by the artist himself. All works of art, some of which were produced especially for Krems, all originated in the studio in Brussels.
The sculptures- executed on a scale of 1:1 - lead through a semi-real world. Imaginations reflect silence and timelessness, often remote from a spatial environment.
The grey framed environments repeatedly refer to each other, with the watercolours and films.
The central work My bed a raft, the room the sea, and then I laughed some gloom in me (2019) with drift music in the background recorded the first room. Floating on a raft, a girl is sleeping, surrounded by the transience symbolizing butterflies. In addition to books, sweets, a flashlight and a glass of water are sleeping pills next to the bed. The gray installation, made of polyester, foam, steel, polyamide, epoxy resin and wood, is 4 meters long and wide and takes the viewer into the girl's dream world without being able to step directly into the scenery - it is a distant observation.
And those who look closely can perceive the weak pinpricks on her thin arms.
The monumental sculptural installation The Cliff (2019)depicts a teenage couple tentatively holding hands on a ledge. The girl stares blankly into the distance. What is she looking for? The boy is quite focused on catching her attention. It is a picture of idealised, but also inexperienced and insecure young love, full of innocence and expectations. The story of youth, of growing up, is presented as a kind of enchantment. It is important to immerse yourself in this emotional world. Or do we see ourselves as observers - in the past?
The deliberate light used by Hans Op de Beeck blurs the reality and our thought-constructs.
In the portico, on the upper floor, seven video works are shown. As a stream of watercolour works, which are also on display, runs the 19-minute long Night Time (2015), accompanied by a music-strip. Landscapes, urban interiors, objects and figures in the dark of the night are brought to life by the artist. Perspectives and environments are not only gloomy but unreal. There are links to the methods of the films of the 1940s and 1950s, which played with the black and white contrasts and could evoke feelings in the viewer.
The basis of this filmic work are the watercolours created since 2009. These are up to five meters wide and catch the attention of the visitors with their extremely low contrast transitions on the surfaces. The deepest black interrupt white flashes of lightning, like the nocturnes of former masters.
In the Lounge (with paintings) from 2011, you will find the sofa that is central to Sleeping Girl (2017) - a girl sleeping embryonic on a Chesterfield sofa.
In Lounge (with paintings), the sofa is empty, but the curtains and the staggering room mirrors the videos and theatrical landscapes. In addition to the paintings on the wall depicting a marine landscape, a mountain landscape and a 'De Stijl' landscape, the reflection of the scenery in the seemingly shiny floor perfects the three-dimensional effect.
Reality or dream? Definitely a worth seeing exhibition, where you can also see Tatiana (soap bubble) (2017), a bubble-blowing girl. The material from which dreams arise - from the hands and imagination of the Belgian artist who enjoys working at night.
- From March 15 to April 20, 2019, Galerie Krinzinger will accompany the exhibition "Hans Op de Beeck - The Conversation"