PRINT April 2005


The scene is a dimly lit diner. Hemispherical lamps hover over tables whose generic salt and pepper dispensers could date from the ’40s or from today, and the menu—in an unreadable script—furnishes no further clues about where (or when) you are. In any case, the proprietor has shut the kitchen and gone home. Outside the picture window, night has fallen over a landscape bisected by a highway that curves away invitingly. Of course it’s too dreamy to be true, not least because no institution—including GEM in The Hague, where Hans Op de Beeck’s etiolated walk-in environment Location 5, 2004, was shown in a solo exhibition last year—can accommodate several miles of semirural vista. Yet while Op de Beeck’s interior is a fabrication and its landscape a glassed-off model in which steadily shrinking streetlights simulate distance, it isn’t a con. Rather it’s a febrile consideration of the problem

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