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"Staging Silence" at the Hirschhorn - video installation

Page history last edited by Kirsty Gharavi 11 years, 6 months ago

Project Title:  "Staging Silence" Hans Op de Beeck

Museum/ Institution: Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden 

Program Created:  Opened Dec. 2010

Program URL (if available):  http://hirshhorn.si.edu/exhibitions/view.asp?key=21&subkey=489


Project Image(s) and/or Video


Media Source(s)/Credit(s):


Photograph c/o Hirshhorn website.



Program Description: (150-250 words)

Situated in the Black Box area of the basement at the Hirshhorn, "Staging Silence" is the latest video installation by the Belgian artist Hans Op de Beeck. It is housed in a white room open at the front and projected on a large screen at eye level. It lasts 22 minutes and runs continually, allowing the viewer the freedom to watch for as long as they wish. It presents man made landscapes which incorporate every day materials presented in various lighting and staging environments. Soft, electronic music composed by Serge Lacroix accompanies the scenes and arms can be seen maneuvering the pieces. A single bench is placed just outside the confines of the room, and when occupied, the audience is surreptitiously encouraged to sit on the floor or lean against the walls. This is a non participatory installation, but one that stimulates and challenges the viewer to interpret.



Firsthand or secondary review/critique: (150-250 words) 

I was lucky to be visiting the Hirshhorn for the first time in early January and before leaving, decided to check out the Black Box. I am so glad I did. Although I knew nothing of this artist, I was immediately drawn into the installation. I was not sure of the timing - when it began or when it would end - but that didn't really matter. The ever changing scenes presented in stark black and white, but illuminated with evocative lighting, created a canvas of man and his modern environment which is manipulated and staged by unseen bodies. Objects that we are so familiar with, like kitchen utensils, are transformed into a cityscape changing from day to night. A lighted mansion is revealed to be a decorated cake. Op de Beeck transforms the everyday into the surreal in this video and, I think, challenges the viewer to re-think our expectations and superficial impressions. In a review for the Washington Post, Jan. 21, 2011, Jason Edward Kaufman, concludes that the installation is "pleasant entertainment," but I would contend that it is original, provoking, entertaining and incredibly thoughtful.   


Technologies incorporated:

 Video projection, sound 


Internally or externally produced:

Externally produced by the artist.


Entry Contributor and Date:  Kirsty Gharavi, 1/30/11


Related projects:  

 Video obtained from Youtube in which the artist and his work is presented - unfortunately in Dutch, but you can get an idea of the man and his process.




Comments (2)

lstepp1@... said

at 10:48 pm on Jan 29, 2011

This is one of my favorite video pieces. Here is the complete work:

Kirsty Gharavi said

at 6:56 pm on Jan 31, 2011

Thank you so much for finding the video, Laurie. I looked everywhere and thought it wasn't available because it is currently running!

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