Carpenters Workshop Gallery | London is pleased to present Lust for Life, a solo exhibition by Atelier van Lieshout, from February 1 to May 11, 2018. After the successful solo show Furnification presented at the gallery in Paris last fall, followed by the Domestikator, a twelve-meter high inhabitable sculpture censored by the Louvre Museum and subsequently installed at the Piazza Centre Pompidou; Lust for Life continues to explore van Lieshout’s recent sculptural experiments to invent a new material vocabulary that questions civilization.
Joep van Lieshout explains ‘Lust for Life is about enjoying life and embracing every part of it. Whether it is life, death, dancing, getting old, contemplating or reproducing, all of those things are essential parts of human life. And of course, it is about having lust all your life’.
Featuring an ensemble of lamps from his ongoing bodies of works, the exhibition intends to reveal the interplay between utopia and destruction. While sculptures like Scarlett Lamp, Dancing Lamp, and Venus Lamp (2017) reflect on the course of life, one of the van Lieshout ‘s recurring theme; Domestikator Lamp (2017), never exhibited before, refers to domestication. The process of how humans want to improve and control the world with ingenuity, creativity, sophistication, technology and persistence. It started with agriculture, followed by the industrial revolution, and now new technologies, like artificial intelligence, genetic manipulation, robotics, and industrial farming. Van Lieshout look at how we push our ethical borders without any real understanding of the long term effects.
In addition to these sculptural lamps, some are more conceptual and part of a larger group called the End Of Everything. 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 such as Hydroform Lamp, Long gaztank Lamp, and Hydroform Prepared Lamp (2016). Gas tanks and heavy steel tubes were pitted against the power of hydraulic equipment, drop hammers, and other self-built machines. These functional sculpture are not the result of a careful design process but are the products of a battle that the artist stages between the human, the machine, and material against the objects, concept, and process that leads the artist to a totally new way of designing products.
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. For three decades, Atelier van Lieshout has produced work that breaks the boundaries of art, design, and architecture.
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.