Carpenters Workshop Gallery is proud to present Furnification, a solo exhibition by Joep van Lieshout. Furnification features the results of van Lieshout’s recent sculptural experiments to invent a new material vocabulary. The exhibited sculptures are part of a series that the artist refers to as CryptoFururism in which he revisits the Italian Futurists a century later to look at resonances with emerging Fascist tendencies today. Van Lieshout uses his art to reveal the interplay between Utopia and destruction. With CryptoFuturism, van Lieshout sets out to destroy in order to renew and start again, to hit the reset button. Van Lieshout’s fascination with man and machine, environment and consumption, society and systems have driven him to built a group of raw, industrial artworks – hammers, presses, shredders and rollers – that can be interpreted as machines for either construction or destruction, as a negative or positive force, as a break from tradition, and a change for the future. Their primary goal is to recycle, be it scrap, consumer goods, artworks even, to create new works of art and a new sculptural language. The machines are, however, also sculptures in their own right.
Using these hand-made recycling machines, van Lieshout created works such as Hydroform and Crash Cabinet, are intended as a test for apparently indestructible objects. Everyday items such as gas canisters and fire extinguishers were pitted against the power of hydraulic cylinders, drop hammers, and other self-built machines, a merciless struggle that reveals vulnerability. Simultaneously, sculptures like the Walking Sticks and Venus Lamp reflect society’s renewed interest in divergent political movements, our ongoing search for new leaders and visionaries who incite the masses and lead the way into the future.
In Furnification van Lieshout not only pushes the limits of materials, but also questions civilization, the world that we have created. This tainted optimism, the urge to destroy and to renew, the interplay between the dystopian and the utopian is what defines van Lieshout’s work. Over his 30-year career, van Lieshout has established a multidisciplinary practice that produces works on the borders between art, design, and architecture, projects that vary size, scale, and context yet always mirror or anticipate the future of our world.
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.