In his exhibition 'The Quiet Parade', Op de Beeck, brings together a large group of recent and new works, carefully staged and composed as one unique Gesamtkunstwerk. These predominantly achromatic sculptures now become one monumental, immersive installation, in the vast, open exhibition space of the Amos Rex Museum.
Whereas Op de Beeck’s visual language for his film and theatre works has a generally colourful aesthetic, his sculptural works over the past decade and a half were mainly executed in a soft, velvet like grey tone, as if covered in ashes or petrified. The artist considers the absence of colour in these works as an act of abstracting his three-dimensional language from the full-colour world as we know it, into what appears as an afterimage, a reverberating aftermath of sorts, thus bringing it closer to the soul and essence of the depicted character or scenery. In other words, the artist aims to emphasise the evocation and sensorial experience to the viewer rather than striving to simulate reality. His quiet environments and characters resonate with the world as an almost parallel reality, in a concentrated yet alienating way. He therefore explores and questions universal, ethical, timeless and contemporary subjects that touch all of our lives.
The sculptural works in this exhibition depict all kinds of fictitious characters, natural elements and scenery, animals, and architectural structures on a life-sized, reduced or enlarged scale.
This perception-confusing whole appears like an enigmatic landscape, a nocturnal park, inviting the viewer to wander around in a kind of gloomy wonderland, balancing between a pleasant dream and latent disorder between soothing joy and pensive melancholy.
Moreover, Op de Beeck is not afraid to work with anachronistic and transcultural tendencies, mixing highly cultural references with subcultural aesthetics, reconciling good and supposedly bad taste, mingling precious refined objects with banalities.
The title ‘The Quiet Parade’, refers to the idea of a loud, festive, colourful collective event that has been silenced, as it were. It is a metaphor for the ungraspable, timeless, quiet truths underneath the surface of our ongoing parade of mundane, daily rituals.
A silent parade also refers to a silent procession, which often takes place after a tragic event, allowing for a collective healing for those involved.
Photo credits: Mika Huisman, Jetro Stavén and Sami Sillman