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a film still by the artist Hans Op de Beeck as reviewed by Blouin Artinfo

The Marianne Boesky Gallery is hosting the first public presentation of Op de Beeck’s nostalgic and perception-bending animated film “The Girl.” Completed in late 2017 in collaboration with the Flanders AudioVisual Fund, the film is being screened at the gallery’s New York venue.

On view until June 9, 2018, the atmospheric film captivates viewers immediately. “The film opens with a view of a stately, colonial-style home in an unspecified place and era. A 14-year-old girl appears within, seemingly sleeping as a light breeze gently rustles her hair. Then time progresses in an instant; the once fine home is dilapidated, and the girl is thrust into a solitary existence, living in a shabby caravan in the forest. Scenes of deep woods and meadows are juxtaposed with elements of industry —a gas station, a factory billowing smoke into the air, and a highway running through tall trees. In moments, the girl looks on to these man-made intrusions into nature; in others, her presence is felt through a fire left crackling or her parked cargo bike. The viewer is drawn deep into thisquiet narrative —the eye compelled by the lush, realistic scenes and subtle flickers of fluorescent lights and movements in the wind,” says the gallery.

The gallery further describes the film saying that, “the sense of melancholia is intensified by the frequent fog and rain, and the mournful tones of the soundtrack, with a woman’s voice gently calling out, ‘There, there...’ It is unclear whether the lyric is an invitation to us to look more closely or a voice of comfort to the girl in this desolate place. As the film progresses, so does the damage done by humanity, as the girl finds herself at a landfill, the air hazy with smog. She has not aged, but the world around her has changed in devastating ways. As the film draws to an end, she is once again seen in repose, seemingly surrendered to her circumstances, floating away on a lake. The soundtrack intones, ‘water invites reflection.’”

“The film boasts of high atmospheric views, rich landscapes, and poignant music, composed by Tom Pintens in collaboration withthe artist. These factors penetrate the psyche and stimulate the senses, encapsulating Op de Beeck’s uncanny ability to create visual fictions that deliver moments of wonder, silence, and introspection. Op de Beeck’s wide-ranging oeuvre includes large-scale installation, sculpture, film, painting, drawing, photography and texts. His work reflects the tragi-comic ways in which humans stage and organize their lives. Utilizing simple, everyday images, Op de Beeck raises universal questions about meaning and mortality thus finding a delicate balance between the serious and the absurd, between the banal and extraordinary,” says the gallery.