The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, a thematic solo exhibition of the visionary Joep Van Lieshout / Atelier Van Lieshout, brings together sculptures, video work, and functional artworks, revealing the full scope of transgressive artist Joep Van Lieshout’s experimental and multidisciplinary practice. The presentation debuts new and recent works that exemplify Van Lieshout’s ongoing commitment to exploring boundaries and inventing new ways to sculpt the future.
World-renowned for his immense and visionary projects, Van Lieshout gained international recognition for pioneering a practice that straddles the boundary between art, architecture, and design. Since the beginning of his career Van Lieshout has continued to explore the borders of what art can be, even when this approach was unprecedented or taboo. From living sculptural installations that assert or question independence, to invented objects and thematic bodies of work that push all limits, Van Lieshout dissects and invents systems—be it society as a whole or the human body to explore power, self-sufficiency, politics, fertility, life, and death.
A phrase drawn from Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone’s epic Western of the same name from 1966, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ has become an apt lens through which to view Van Lieshout’s thematic bodies of work. The title can be seen as a thread throughout Van Lieshout’s career—he approaches complicated problems from multiple angles, highlighting ethical and societal issues while presenting alternative solutions and, at the same time, emphasizing their adverse effect. His work probes questions that ignite paradoxes and new perspectives, highlighting ethical or practical issues.
The exhibition includes new sculptures from Van Lieshout’s ongoing and overlapping bodies of work, including: CryptoFuturism, The End of Everything/ The Beginning of Everything, and The New Tribal Labyrinth, which demonstrate his everlasting lust for experimentation with sculpture while inventing a new material vocabulary.
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. AVL’s projects traverse clean design and non-functional sculptures doubling as habitats, fusing luxury with anarchic independence from conventional living.
Van Lieshout's works have been included in the Gwangju, Venice, Yokohama, Christchurch, Shanghai and São Paulo biennials. AVL is in part of the permanent collections of public and private institutions such as: FNAC, Paris; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Prada Foundation, Milan; Ludwig Forum, Aachen; Folkwang Museum, Essen; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich.