247. Atelier Van Lieshout

Atelier Van Lieshout
(Est. 1995)
Callcenter Unit Stand Alone (2008)
Plaster, fiberglass and steel, H. 118.5 x W. 188 x D. 109.5 cm
Provenance:
– Grimm Fine Art, Amsterdam, 2013
– Collection Cornelia Weijsenfeld, de Wittenberg, Garderen
Literature:
– D. van den Boogerd & T. Morton, New Tribal Labyrinth. Atelier van Lieshout, Frame Publishers, Amsterdam, 2014, pp. 155 &179 (ill.)
– T. Dückers & A. Landgraf et al., Atelier van Lieshout. Stadt der Sklaven – Slave City, DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne, 2008, p. 266 (ill.)
Note:
Including a certificate of authenticity signed and dated 2013.

In 1995, Atelier Van Lieshout (AVL) was founded by sculptor Joep van Lieshout (1963). Nowadays, it consists of a group of twenty artists and designers. Atelier Van Lieshout’s oeuvre ranges from machines to sculptures, furniture, buildings, installations, and designs for utopian and dystopian cities. The creations of “The School of Van Lieshout” address classical themes such as life and death, but also exhibit a recurring fascination with subjects like political and economic systems, man’s role in society, autarky, and the human body.

The works are part of several international private collections and are exhibited in museums exhibitions worldwide, including the Venice Biennale. Joep van Lieshout has been the recipient of several awards, including the Prix de Rome and the Wilhelminaring.
The subject Callcenter was featured in the extensive exhibition Slave City held at the Folkwang Museum in Essen in 2008. The project presents a dystopian vision of a city in which people are forced to work for maximum profit. Notions of ethics, the human condition, and societal organisation are questioned and taken to absurd extremes. The fully computer-controlled and self-sufficient Slave City has 200.000 inhabitants, complete with universities, brothels, and factories. New arrivals undergo employability tests through palm scans; eighty percent are sent straight to the slaughterhouse. This vision of human exploitation is also depicted in this maquette Callcenter Unit Stand Alone, made of plaster and fiberglass on steel supports.

Works by Atelier Van Lieshout are interconnected; never autonomous, as he states. The artist seeks a connection between purposelessness and the functions of art. This tension can be observed in his sculptural forms, where materiality is more important than the use of the objects. “For me,” Van Lieshout says, “form should not follow function indiscriminately. Something insane must happen with it; it must go beyond the image itself. Moreover, it will always relate to society, politics, life.”

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