A ship full of tranquility clichés

A ship full of tranquility clichés

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
A ship full of tranquility clichés

Hans Op De Beeck slowly draws the audience to the inside of the ship and makes them discover how people live there.

Belgian artist Hans Op De Beeck is active in every part of artistic creation. He creates three hundred square meter installations, he writes short stories - in which he does not even see himself as a professional - he makes music, and he produces short movies.

Even though he makes a lot of things, his main focus is on visual art and the simple language that he uses in creating his pieces. His short movie titled “Sea of Tranquility,” which is currently on display at Dirimart in Istanbul, aims to focus on the clichés of society and daily life, while avoiding the clichéd language of the cinema.

“There is a mood created in my works,” he said. “There is an overall atmosphere and you feel that you are invited to watch it.”

Op De Beeck uses different media, shifting from one frame to another while using an economical and minimal visual language or exaggerated designs. A large ship carrying people suggests a militaristic approach, for example. “People are living there and everything seems normal. However, there are many things happening inside their houses,” he said.

While “Sea of Tranquility” indicates a move towards miniaturization and diversity, it also draws attention to the clichés of life. Everyone seems to live very calmly and without any problems, but the audience only sees the surface. There are many things under the surface. The artist makes the audience feel as they are only glimpsing the tip of the iceberg, and that there is much to discover in the ship.

Op De Beeck slowly draws the audience to the inside of the ship and makes them discover how people live there. He leaves it to the viewer to take the work seriously, as a sort of parallel reality, or to immediately put it into perspective as no more than a visual construct. His works more often than not deal with fun situations, as well as entertainment and leisure spaces - parties, feasts, parks, festivities, fairs, cafés, swimming pools, and gardens. The artist challenges the twisted circumstances of these areas of recreation, stripping them of their elements of amusement and conviviality.

While he sets out from traditional techniques, his new works also present digital animation. Op De Beeck strives to choose and utilize the most effective technique for each particular work. He frequently uses several aesthetic forms at the same time, and in his images he captures the tragicomic absurdity of our postmodern existence.

Op De Beeck shows the viewer non-existent but identifiable places, moments, and characters that appear to have been taken from contemporary everyday life.

Clichés of ‘Sea of Tranquility’

Op De Beeck chooses to reflect clichés via people. “For example, the singer in the movie who sings in the bar is a black jazz musician. This is always the same. On the other hand, the maid of the ship is a Korean lady.”

Op De Beeck did research on this theme and discovered that a certain percent of people working in large ships are from Korea.

“My first discipline lies in sculpture and painting,” said Op De Beeck, refraining from defining himself as a film-maker. “When I use video, I use it in a different way than a film-maker would do. I have another conception of time and I am not fighting that. I don’t want to be a film-maker. I am not pretending to be one. To be honest, I don’t know much about film-making! I am a visual artist.”

In fact, Op De Beeck’s architectural works are key to understanding his body of work. A recurring aesthetic in his works is the fastidious production of objects and spaces. In this manner, the artist’s main objective of sculptural construction is achieved.

“Sea of Tranquility” juxtaposes a variety of techniques together, reflecting his desire to question the boundaries between these different techniques. The main purpose of the film is to create a sense of familiarity in the viewer, while simultaneously destroying his or her ability to remember, and in turn allow them to procure their own experiences.

“Sea of Tranquility” continues at Dirimart until May 27.

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