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The scenes in Hans Op de Beeck’s video installation “Staging Silence” bear little relationship to one another, but nonetheless flow seamlessly. The Belgian artist’s black and white settings evoke vintage film until they’re disrupted by a pair of human hands, which insert and remove the artfully arranged, handcrafted objects. In one sequence, a lawn and fountain appear in front of a mansion, until the hands abruptly remove the lawn and insert candles in the mansion, revealing it to be a cake. The cake is cut into slices, and the destruction resembles ancient ruins. The scenes are utterly familiar, yet the film is inventive and unpredictable. The music is at turns upbeat in one scene and ominous the next, its impact heightened by the absence of dialogue. Still, Op de Beeck’s demonstration of beauty in simplicity rings loud and true.
The exhibition is on view daily 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to March 27 at the Hirshhorn Museum, 7th St. SW and Independence Ave. Free. (202) 633-2796.