Hans Op de Beeck: Staging Silence 2

Evoking ancient ruins, towers formed by cubes rest on a glossy surface silhouetted against a smokey, cloud-like background.

Video still, Hans Op de Beeck, Staging Silence (2), 2013. Full HD video, black and white, sound, 20 minutes 48 seconds. Edition of 10, 2AP. Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York © Hans Op de Beeck.

Hayden Gallery
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Hans Op de Beeck
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Hans Op de Beeck works in sculpture, installations, video, photography, animated films, drawing, painting, and writing.

His various works show the viewer non-existent, but identifiable places, moments and characters that appear to have been taken from everyday life. Op de Beeck has described his works as “proposals”; he has expressed that they are irrefutably fictional and staged, leaving it up to the viewer whether or not to consider each work as a possible parallel reality, or to understand it as nothing more than a visual construct. Thematically his work concentrates on our laborious and problematic relationship with time, space, and each other resulting from globalization and the changes to our living environment brought about by developments in media, automation, and technology. Investigating the relationship between reality and representation–between what we see, what we want to believe, and what we create for ourselves–Op de Beeck’s visual output reflects a keen interest in representing social and cultural phenomena through images that envelope the viewer.

Op de Beeck’s black-and-white film Staging Silence (2) is based around abstract, archetypal settings that lingered in the memory of the artist as the common denominator of the many similar public places he has experienced. These memory images are disproportionate mixtures of concrete information and fantasies, and in this film they materialize before the spectator’s eyes through anonymous tinkering hands. Arms and hands appear and disappear at random, manipulating everyday objects into miniaturized, artificially lit environments. The on-camera construction and de-construction of these environments lends the film a narrative weight that emphasizes the uncanny quality of spaces committed to memory. The film’s title refers to the staging of interiors absent of people, where the spectator can project themself as the lone protagonist. These places are no more or less than animated decors for possible stories, evocative visual propositions to the spectator. The film is accompanied by a score, which, inspired by the images themselves, has been composed and performed by composer-musician Scanner (UK).

About the Artist

Hans Op de Beeck (b.1969) lives and works in Brussels, Belgium where he has developed his career through international exhibitions over the past ten years. Recent solo exhibitions include Hans Op de Beeck: Sea of Tranquility, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL and FRAC Paca, Marseille, France (2013); The Settlement, Emscherkunst, Essen, Germany (2013); and Hans Op de Beeck: Parade, De Warande, Turnhout, Belgium (2013). He recently completed a permanent installation at Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, Belgium. Op de Beeck has also shown widely in group shows, including recent exhibitions at institutions including Museo d’Arte Moderna de Bologna; Frieze London; Royal Museums of Fine Arts Belgium; Klaipeda Art Center, Lithuania; SH Contemporary, Shanghai; Galerie Cédric Bacqueville, Lille, France; and Staedtische Galerie Nordhorn, Germany.

Hans Op de Beeck: Staging Silence (2) is curated by List Director Paul C. Ha


Support for this exhibition has been generously provided by the Council for the Arts at MIT, the Office of the Associate Provost at MIT, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, TOKY, the MIT List Visual Arts Center Advisory Committee, and the Friends of the List. Special thanks to Marianne Boesky Gallery and Vlaamse Overheid Kunsten en Erfgoed/Flemish Government Arts and Heritage.