The SettlementSculptural Installation, 2013. Wood and Mixed Media, 13 m × 10 m, 4m high.
The installation consists of 20 compact miniature houses, interconnected by a wooden framework structure and placed inside a shallow water basin. The construction of The Settlement is reminiscent of pile dwellings and stilt villages that are usually found in the Caribbean, on the Philippines or in Vietnam. The surrounding scenery is enlivened with miniature boats and figures. Every last detail of the scene was created by hand.
Op de Beeck often deals with parallel worlds in his installations, evoking a fictitious environment. This strange and silent little village almost seems as if it were populated. It provides a home, as Op de Beeck explains “to a small, imaginary community”, and invites viewers to create own stories of village life from their imagination. The monochrome appearance of the installation evokes an echo of foreign and sterile feelings. Hans Op de Beeck's intention was not to imitate a realistic stilted village, but to create a fundamentally personal, yet authentically ‘foreign’ architectural experience.