Hans Op de Beeck’s largest-ever solo exhibition, in the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (Germany), was an all-embracing mise-en-scène encompassing more than 2200 square metres, called Out of the Ordinary, which was also the title of the exhibition.
As a rule we use the phrase out of the ordinary to indicate something unwonted or extraordinary. But Op de Beeck took it in a more literal sense to mean something made out of the ordinary, the everyday. And thus he exposed the extraordinary in the everyday, bending the banal into the original, transfiguring the commonplace into the exotic.
In Out of the Ordinary we entered the Kunstmuseum’s great exhibition hall from a higher level, via Op de Beeck’s 2016 The Collector’s House, the strange, life-sized evocation of a fictive, somewhat pompous collector’s private gallery, entirely sculpted in grey, black-and-white. Leaving it, we found ourselves on the collector’s palazzo-like balcony, gazing at the panoramic view of the streetscape below – a monumental conglomeration of abandoned industrial buildings illuminated by sodium streetlights. The street was not hyper-realistic but largely sculpturally interpreted in monochrome black.
Descending the stairs from our privileged viewpoint we entered a subfusc underworld of dark narrow alleys, furnished with rubbish bins, oil-drum campfires, benches, a fountain. Inside each of the buildings other works were waiting to be discovered – Op de Beeck’s autonomous sculptural installations and videos. Large installations like The Amusement Park, which evokes a closed and deserted funfair at night, and The Settlement, a fictive water village of stilt houses, brought the outdoors indoors, ingeniously adding another layer of ambiguity to the sculptor’s disconcerting manipulation of our perception of inside and outside.
Each of the works in the buildings were a whole world in itself, like the Sea of Tranquillity, which depicts an obscure museum devoted to the story of a fictional cruise liner, or Table (1), in which a bright white room containing an equally white abandoned party table scaled up by half again reduce adult visitors to the size of a seven-year-old child.
In addition to these and other sculptural installations, Out of the Ordinary included video works that illustrate the extraordinary scope of Op de Beeck’s use of the medium – an animated film based on watercolours, a film made to scale on a minuscule film set, and a genuinely cinematographic movie with actors, studio recordings, and digitally-drawn decors.
Hans Op de Beeck:
Hans Op de Beeck (be) produces large installations, sculptures, films, drawings, paintings, photographs and texts.
His work is a reflection on our complex society and the universal questions of meaning and mortality that resonate within it.
He regards man as a being who stages the world around him in a tragi-comic way. Above all, Op de Beeck is keen to stimulate the viewers’ senses, and invite them to really experience the image. He seeks to create a form of visual fiction that delivers a moment of wonder, silence and introspection.
Hans Op de Beeck was born in Turnhout in 1969. He lives and works in Brussels and Gooik, Belgium. Op de Beeck has shown his work extensively in solo and group exhibitions around the world.
He has had substantial institutional solo shows at the GEM Museum of Contemporary Art of The Hague, The Hague, NL (2004); MUHKA Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, B (2006); Centraal Museum, Utrecht, NL (2007); the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, US (2010); Kunstmuseum Thun, CH (2010); Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos, Burgos, ES (2010); Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, IRL (2012); Kunstverein Hannover, D (2012); Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, USA (2013); the Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, FL, USA (2013); FRAC Paca, Marseille, F (2013); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Boston MA, US (2014); MOCA Cleveland, OH, US (2014); Sammlung Goetz, Munich, D (2014),…
Op de Beeck has participated in numerous group shows at institutions such as The Reina Sofia, Madrid, ES; the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ, US; the Towada Art Center, Towada, JP; ZKM, Karlsruhe, DE; MACRO, Rome, IT; the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, GB; PS1, New York, NY, US; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR; Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Köln, DE; Hangar Bicocca, Milano, IT; the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, JP; 21C Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, US; The Drawing Center, New York, NY, US; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, AT; Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, CN; MAMBA, Buenos Aires, AR; Haus der Kunst, Munich, DE; Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Bologna, IT; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn DE,…
His work has been invited for the Venice Biennale, Venice, IT; the Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, CN; the Aichi Triennale, Aichi, JP; the Singapore Biennale, Singapore, SG; Art Summer University, Tate Modern, London, GB; the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, IN, and many other art events.
The Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, one of the cultural beacons of the State of Lower Saxony, offers a fascinating experience space. Whether cultural history or contemporary global art, it always concerns intensity and knowledge of the world. Large-scale artistic projects, total installations or an entire urban space with artist houses: the Kunstmuseum is constantly retransforming itself. The spectacular exhibition hall offers unique opportunities to stage the art of yesterday, today and tomorrow. You, your family and friends can discover a very special museum landscape here, ranging from the urban loggia’s advanced glass and steel architecture, the contemplative Japan Garden and the Studio where visitors of all ages can be creative themselves to the well-assorted museum shop and the renown museum restaurant overlooking the Scharoun Theater and the Klieversberg.
The Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg opened in 1994 with a retrospective exhibition on the French artist Fernand Léger. Since then 130 exhibitions on modern and contemporary art have been presented. The museum’s founding director was Gijs van Tuyl, who served until 2004. He was followed from 2006 to 2014 by Markus Brüderlin. Ralf Beil has been our director since February 2015.
In the more than twenty years since its opening the museum has shown large-scale retrospective exhibitions from the area of classic modern art, for example Fernand Léger, Bart van der Leck and Alberto Giacometti, much-noticed survey shows such as “Full House,” “German Open,” “The Italian Metamorphosis 1943–1968” and “Blast to Freeze.” Monographic exhibitions have been devoted to such artists as Carl Andre, Andy Warhol, Luc Tuymans, Olafur Eliasson, Frank Stella, James Turrell, Imi Knoebel, and Jeppe Hein. With the start of the new directorship in 2006 the program placed contentual accents in large-scale historical and thematic exhibitions, including “ArchiSkulptur,” “Japan and the West,” “Interior/Exterior,” “The Art of Deceleration” and “Art & Textiles” as well as in extensive mid-career retrospectives devoted for example to Douglas Gordon, Neo Rauch, Philip Taaffe that took up the theme of modernism in the 21st century, illuminating it from various perspectives. With “Wolfsburg Unlimited. A City as world laboratory,” Ralf Beil presented his first major exhibition in which the city was reflected in the museum – and the museum in the city.