© Hans Op de Beeck

Hans Op de Beeck
In their minds...

Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery is pleased to present "In their mind...", the first New York solo exhibition of the Belgian artist, Hans Op de Beeck.

"In their minds…" references a child's memory and fantasy through the ambiance of the amusement ride. Hans Op de Beeck examines the programmability of enjoyment by showing the rides as absurd objects for children. He takes us through the child's world of innocence while simultaneously exposing the creation of man made adult "games" that depict the amusement industry's dubious offerings for the child's quest to find magic. Op de Beeck utilizes his understanding of the intangible existing within the space between object and man. The work takes the viewer through an existential concept he defines as "nowhere" while evoking an expectation of outcome.

Op de Beeck created three life sized sculptures for this exhibition. "Merry-Go-Round" removes any sentiment associated with this ride by enshrouding the carousel, transforming it into something cryptic and ambiguous to interpretation. "Car" and "Helicopter" take coin operated stationary rides found outside supermarkets and turns them into a slow and faltering kinetic trip to the toy's death while standing in contrast between weak lighting and the pitch dark austerity of the object.

"Determination" is a series of light box photographs. The artist asked a group of twenty-one children to close their eyes and transport themselves somewhere else or imagine that they are someone else. Almost all of the color is drained out of the images, highlighting the acute feeling of concentration on the children's faces. The dreamlike somnambulism of these pictures visualizes where man's unconscious journey ultimately begins - through the internal world of the child. He shows how one is determined by what happens in one's life, which in turn determines the rest of it.

While better known for sculptural installation and video, "Shapes" is a series of pencil drawings on paper that work alongside the three dimensional works in the exhibition. Op de Beeck has long explored how the purity of a child's fantasy blatantly depicts the sometimes charming or difficult reality in a landscape created by the adult world.

On view in the small gallery is a video entitled "Blender", featuring an unmanned carousel void of human life which is situated in the hot midday sun. As the carousel increases in acceleration it becomes impossible to distinguish any shape in its frenzied movement. Hauntingly reminiscent of time immemorial the video is accompanied by the sound of children, distorted organ music and vague indistinguishable noise speaks of the cycle of the human condition. The carousel slows down to a stop, bringing a temporary moment of calm as the horses and carriages emerge from a sense of chaos, before taking off again.

Hans Op de Beeck currently lives and works in Brussels. In 2003, he was Belgium's artist in residence at the MoMA/P.S.1 Studio Program in New York. Op de Beeck's work has been the subject of several exhibitions, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, the Museum of Contemporary Art in The Hague, Musée des Archives d'Architecture Moderne in Brussels and at the Miami Basel and Basel art fairs.

Exhibition: March 4 - April 2, 2005
Gallery hours: Tue- Sat 10am - 6pm

Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery
526 W. 26th Street, Room 213
New York, NY 10001
Telephone +1 212 243 3335
Fax +1 212 243 1059
Email gallery@nicoleklagsbrun.com