A success story in Helsinki: 'The Quiet Parade' exhibition by Belgian Hans Op de Beeck

On 21 September, Belgian artist Hans Op de Beeck's solo exhibition opened at the Amos Rex museum in the Finnish capital Helsinki. Presenting a Gesamtkunstwerk of 24 sculptures, a soundscape and a video artwork, 'The Quiet Parade, as the exhibition is called, has already attracted some 65,000 people. The Flemish prime minister and culture minister Jan Jambon also paid a visit on Tuesday evening as part of his two-day visit to Estonia and Finland.

At the edge of a grey rock formation, two adolescents sit awkwardly, hand in hand: he looks at her as she stares into the distance. On a Chesterfield sofa, a girl dozes peacefully under a blanket. On a horse mill, clothed skeletons hang about, frozen in a silenced dance of death. Monochrome, grey images populate the nightscape of Amos Rex's basement. Their small actions are solidified in time.

"It reminds me of the images of 9/11"

Small details colour the otherwise grey images: yellowish light burns behind the windows of stylised houses, and pink cherry blossoms grow gently above a startled deer. "It reminds me of the images of 9/11," Belgian artist Hans Op de Beeck explains. "When the Twin Towers came down, we saw streets with ash blowing through them, people coughing under that layer of ash. The disaster created a contemporary Pompeii in a minute. Everything froze underneath that monochrome colour."

"Remember that you must die"

From hand-blown soap bubbles and a 'danse macabre' on a carousel to an enlarged classical vanitas still life with a skull, a butterfly and a burning candle: quite a few of the images in the silent parade refer to the memento mori idea ("remember that you must die"), a theme from art history that reminds the viewer of the transience of life.

With his silent parade, Op de Beeck says he wants to arouse empathy, understanding and gentleness and evoke a moment of contemplation, of peace. Jambon visited the exhibition with Op de Beeck. The Flemish prime minister and culture minister was impressed by 'A Quiet Parade', mentioning he saw "solid work" and a "very versatile artist".

The Finnish museum Amos Rex expects that by the end of February, when the exhibition ends, around 150,000 people will have visited 'A Quiet Parade'. By comparison, S.M.A.K., the contemporary art museum in Ghent, attracted 93,000 visitors in 2019.


#FlandersNewsService | Illustration picture shows an exposition of Flemish artist Hans Op De
​ Beeck at the Amos Rex museum in Helsinki, Finland, during a diplomatic mission of the Flemish government to Estonia and Finland, Tuesday 29 November 2022.




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