"Making art and being an artist is a philosophical task than merely producing objects."
Hans Op De Beeck with Selina Ting after the interview in his Brussels studio. Photo by Ding Yang for InitiArt Magazine. ©InitiArt Magazine, 2011.
Meeting Hans Op De Beeck
[25 Feb 2011, Brusses]
Located in the suburb of Brussels, the Studio Hans Op De Beeck occupies a whole building of four floors. Stijn Maes, General Coordinator of the Studio, greeted us and guided us through the studio. A miniature factory indeed, except that you don’t see assembly lines. Here, everything is made by hands. The first three floors are the production sites where different objects and elements we saw in Hans’ works were conceived and concretized. This time, we had a “work-in-progress” spatial arrangement model – a miniature white grand piano sitting next to a white Coca Cola can, and of course, they are not in the same proportion.
We found Hans on the third floor, tall and slim, elegantly dressed, kneeling in front of a huge watercolour – abstract, monochrome brown. “I draw on the floor to avoid dripping”, said Hans. In the daytime, Hans works on sculptures and installations with his five assistants. In the evening, he draws and paints in the partitioned area, “you can’t delegate drawing and painting. It’s something very intimate. Usually I draw in the evening, quiet and alone”.
Our interview took place in the office located on the top floor – a very spacious, airy, minimalist and monochrome white space, very much like what we saw in his constructed architectural models. Growing up in a bourgeois environment, full of objects and overwhelming colours, Hans embraces the opposite of it, the minimalist, but he’s equally aware of the potential of kitsch, as he said, “when you deliberately use kitsch, it’s no longer kitsch, it becomes a tool”. Kitsch and minimalism do co-exist, and, harmoniously.
22 March 2011, Paris