“BLASTFURNACE” celenrates Atelier Van Lieshout’s (AVL) relationship with Carpenters Workshop Gallery , inaugurated six years ago with an exhibition of AVL’s first works in bronze, the “Technocrat bronze Table” (2007-2011). “Blastfurnace” unites this piece with major recent works in bronze from AVL’s latest series, the “New Tribal Labyrinth”. The three sculptures: “Blastfurnace” (2012), “Gastronomy” (2012) and “Friends” (2011) explore different aspects of life as proposed in the “New Tribal Labyrinth”, itself a celebration of equilibrium.
ATELIER VAN LIESHOUT WAS FOUNDED IN 1995 AS A MULTIDISCIPLINARY PLATFORM BY ARTIST JOEP VAN LIESHOUT.
Atelier Van Lieshout investigates material, process and form through alternative methods. Unconventionally established as a self-sufficient, living artwork, AVL has declared its independence from the port of Rotterdam, within which it is located. The artworks created here breed new forms and pose questions on the world we live in and we do so; human nature, ethics, industry and art. Through experimentation, AVL creates sculpture that varies from the organic to the industrial, as diverse and extreme as a Mobile and exhibitions educating children about recycling. Ranging from large-scale dwelling structures to human organ sculptures, both are combined in the 2004 piece “Wombhouse”, AVL blurs the boundaries between fantasy and function, fertility and destruction. This provocative approach dissects both the human body and systems of society.
EACH PROJECT CAN BE INTERPRETED IN MYRIAD OF WAYS; WHEN A NEW BODY OF WORKS ENDS, ANOTHER ONE BEGINS.
“Slave-City” (2005-2009) is a monumental project, creating and exploring an alternative, ecological financial structure and social system that aims to reduce our carbon footprint. The project was followed by the “New Tribal Labyrinth” series, another proposal for the survival of the planet. Here, Joep Van Lisehout creates a new hybrid culture, a society inhabited by tribes based on the industrial and agricultural structures that are diminishing within today’s society. He advocates a reintroduction of balance between labour and materials, reasserting, within our collective consciousness, that the value of goods and products is inextricably linked to human labour.
INSPIRED BY THE ARTS & CRAFTS MOVEMENT, AVL REFUTES THE SOCIETY OF THE DISPOSABLE; AN OBJECT CONNECTS ITS END USE TO THE SCULPTOR WHO MADE, WITH HIS OWN HANDS.
Ritual will be re-valued in the “New Tribal Labyrinth”, playing a crucial role in this new proposed society. In the near future, these elements will participate in the emergence of various new cultures. Groups of people will begin to organize themselves by tribe rather than nationality. AVL creates objects, installations and equipment through which they can connect with one another: monuments to be worshipped, cannibalistic sacrificial equipment, daily objects and designs. He reintroduces a sense of respect to the things we use and live with.
THE SCULPTURES EXHIBITED IN “BLASTFURNACE” PROJECT THE “NEW TRIBAL LABYRINTH” SCENARIOS FROM THE MIND OF JOEP VAN LIESHOUT. Where “Slave-City” focused on the recycling of bodies, “New Tribal Labyrinth” hones in on making sustainable, “keepable”, lifelong objects that offer knowledge to human beings and to human living. New models of behaviour, and new systems for an alternative world are proposed, advocating simplicity, grace and tolerance to share health and prosperity, with respect to the ecosystem. Farming, industry and ritual form the three main facets of this huge work in progress – a “Gesamtkunstwerk” (total work of art).
As Van Lieshout himself says, “I AM DEFENDING the diminishing industries that are being replaced by a Disney society of service workers, pursuing empty tasks. I am placing value on objects that are produced through industry in Europe”.
JOEP VAN LIESHOUT HAS MOTIVATED NEW TRENDS IN ARCHITECTURE AND ECOLOGY; HIS SCULPTURAL PRACTICE IS WIDELY CELEBRATED, EXHIBITED AND PUBLISHED; YET WORDS CANNOT TRULY CONTAIN THE REACH OF HIS WORK.
“New Tribal Labyrinth” reinterprets the logic of an economy and ecology based on industrial efficiency in an attempt to bring back materiality as a principle of civilization. Critically analysing today’s world, Atelier Van Lieshout’s work proposes a revolution on the contemporary and provides practical proposals for living, taken from ancient of living.
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.