Atelier Van Lieshout: working with imagination and...

Atelier Van Lieshout: working with imagination and freedom of expression

Atelier Van Lieshout was founded by the artist Joep van Lieshout (born in Ravenstein in 1963, has lived in Rotterdam since 1987) with the intention of operating at three hundred and sixty degrees in an uncertain boundary where art, design and architecture can find a common ground of growth. His work explores the thin boundary where art gives way to standardized and serial production, always keeping open the boundaries of fantasy and function, fertility and dissipation with an all-encompassing approach.

In support of what has been said so far, an interesting passage by Bart Lootsma is reported, where the work of van Lieshout, with the mediation of Bataille, finds a possible reflection in that of Manet. “Two things characterize Joep van Lieshout’s entire oeuvre: a certain indifference to aesthetics and the way it crosses all boundaries. Van Lieshout’s indifference is not just indifference for its own sake, because it is precisely that indifference that gives his pieces a bare-face power. This is the active indifference that George Bataille also saw in Édouard Manet’s work. According to Bataille, Manet’s painting rule out all expectations of a higher expression or a deeper meaning. Yet it is not that Manet’s paintings just simply lack meaning, but rather that he painted the absence of meaning as an essential characteristic of his time. Moreover Bataille maintains that in laying bare that essential characteristic Manet managed to radically liberate himself from his own time. This also holds true of many of van Lieshout’s works, and certainly of the works in which he employs standard industrial measurements and produces in series “(from the catalog” A Manual “, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 1987).

Van Lieshout, after having analyzed the consolidated forms and the existing systems (understood as society as a whole or the parts of the human body) puts into practice an experimental path with which he tries to arrive at an alternative as well as a formal process. In this way, the author combines the aesthetic aspect with the ethical one, the imagination of expressive language with the entrepreneurial spirit, scratching the rind of bourgeois common sense or the most consolidated expectations. Always with a dose of optimism, in the hope of change and a better world. His work, ranging from architecture to ecology and focusing on recurring subjects, such as power systems, self-sufficiency, life and death, sex, the individual and the community, has often aroused controversy, but to overcome them, since his works are part of prestigious permanent collections such as: FNAC (Paris), Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum (Rotterdam), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Fondazione Prada (Milan), Forum Ludwig (Aix-la-Chapelle) , Folkwang Museum (Essen), Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Zurich).

The Le Voyage exhibition, in Le Portique, is studied as a path, and evokes a journey that has its own destiny as a destination. Which means willingly setting out on that path for which one is destined. Van Lieshout tries to dominate destiny by going against the classic maxim which states: whoever opposes it will be pulled by the hair. However, it is a path played on abundance and not on the quality of the goods or objects contained in the suitcases (and which act as stops) and the hypothetical pioneers of this journey are well aware of this. Ultimately a utopian dream, aimed at an inaccessible world and where the shelves will always be overloaded with offers. A kind of Eden (or promised land) of abundance.

Atelier Van Lieshout’s work is represented by the galleries: Krinzinger (Vienna, Austria), Jousse Entreprise / galerie Philip Jousse (Paris, France), OMR (Mexico City, Mexico), Gio Marconi (Milan, Italy), Carpenters Workshop Gallery (London, UK; Paris, France; San Francisco / New York, USA).

Fabio Fabris


Atelier Van Lieshout, Le Voyage
25/06/2022 – 11/09/2022
Le Portique center régional d’art contemporain du Havre
30 rue Gabriel Péri 76600 Le Havre, France

Atelier Van Lieshout, Friends, 2021, mixed materials. Courtesy the artist and Le Portique

Atelier Van Lieshout, Sad weelchair, 2021, mixed materials. Courtesy the artist and Le Portique


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.