Sculptor Joep van Lieshout was born in 1963 in Ravenstein, The Netherlands. He is the progenitor of AVL-ville, a self-sufficient free-state in the port of Rotterdam named after the studio he founded in 1995. For three decades van Lieshout has produced work that straddles art, design, and architecture; sharing recurring themes of systems, power, life, sex, death, and the human individual amidst the greater whole.
AVL gained international recognition for sculptural installations featuring controversial or sinister nuances. Alongside playful perversion, the work conveys disdain for limitation and longing for freedom. Van Lieshout considers the body to be divine architecture with the viewer invited to interact with manufactured interior spaces resembling internal organs, acting out taboos and wish fulfillment.
His work Sensory Deprivation Skull allows the experience of entering one’s own head, offering a period and place of mental respite. Wellness Skull houses a sauna and a bath within its form, proffering more hedonistic relaxation.
AVL’s projects traverse clean design and non-functional sculptures doubling as habitats, fusing luxury with anarchic independence from conventional living.