When we think of famous sculptures, stark, white marble is usually what comes to mind. Even though many ancient sculptures were originally painted in vibrant hues, these pigments faded over time, and white sculptures become a fixture of Italian Renaissance art and beyond. Belgian artist Hans Op de Beeck puts his own spin on sculptures by rendering human figures in a mesmerizing monochrome gray palette.
This unique approach has a startling effect. Each figure appears suspended in time, completely still and alone with their own thoughts. With the absence of color, the viewer is compelled to look at the smooth texture of the skin, the details in the clothing and facial features, as well as the overall form of the work. Not only are these characters shadowed in a solid gray, but they also appear to be in deep thought as well. Most figures have their eyes half or entirely closed, as if they are trapped in a dream.
Dressing the figures in detailed costumes while having them be still is a hallmark of Op de Beeck's work. “This moment of stillness contrasts greatly with their outfits. The gray monochromatic nature of the sculptures makes the characters appear as if petrified or frozen in time, as if the characters' brief moments of introspection and letting go have made them timeless,” the sculptor explains. Other sculptures depict characters in the midst of an activity, but even in these cases, they possess a contemplative nature—once again, seemingly distracted by a deeper thought.
Scroll down to see more monochrome sculptures by Op de Beeck, and follow the artist's Instagram to keep up to date with his latest projects.