Infrastructure Dining Table, continues the Slave City theme that Joep Van Lieshout has created as his version of a utopian world as well as a vision of the future. By creating this metropolis with the pipe-work crafted in wrought iron, it creates “a place where you can design every building, every system – even life itself.”
At first glance, its knot of interwoven pipes appears to be computer generated, but this is precisely the aesthetic practice that van Lieshout aims to critique. “Design has become a distant process. I want to turn that around so that the design, the production and the factory is all in the one place... A lot of sweat went into that table.”
In its entirety, the labyrinth of steel is the aerial view of the entire plan AVL has designed for Slave City, as a city that is wholly self sufficient in terms of nutrition, energy, and water, produced by the inhabitants through their labour and leisure. Reflecting a satirical take on the constant contemporary attention for eco-friendly environments and a solution to overpopulation, with Slave City, productive human slavery is envisioned as an efficient form of human recycling.
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.