In The Boatswain and Other Stories, Belgian artist Hans Op de Beeck (before) reflects the fleeting stages of life through an atmospheric series of vignettes in a uniform gray. The large exhibition, which can be seen until January 6, 2022, under Galleria Continua in San Gimignano, Italy, shows imagined motifs in the midst of their typical surroundings: a shirtless man steers his little rowing boat with dog, chickens and baskets through lily pads, a Brazilian dancer with feather headdress rests on a tufted chair and two teenagers holding hands sit in silence on a rocky one Cliff. Although the lifelike characters have very different identities and backgrounds, each narrative pervades a universal theme of transition and impending change.
In addition to the larger scenes, Op de Beeck presents still lifes with disparate and anachronistic objects, such as the “Vanitas Table” loaded with corals and candles and the oversized skull, fruit and bottle tableau in “Vanitas XL”. Most of his works are completely monochrome, although tiny cherry blossoms in “Wunderkammer (12)” break through the strict color palette with small, pink petals. Despite the depiction of seemingly banal moments, the artist’s sculptures and installations are permeated with a sense of wonder and mystery and serve as an introduction to the unknown story behind the pieces.
In addition to The Boatswain and Other Stories, Op de Beeck’s life-size carousel “Danse Macabre“Will sit in front of the Church of St. Walburga in Bruges until October 24th as part of the Bruges Triennial 2021. Further works of installations, sculptures and watercolor portraits can be found on his side and Instagram. (about ArtNet)
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