5 Minutes With Joep van Lieshout
In our new feature Five Minutes With… we ask artists to take 5 minutes out of their day to answer some questions through which we get to know them better. What is their go to song while working in the studio? Which single work of art would they choose to live alongside in their home? And what projects are they currently working on?
Today we have 5 Minutes With Joep Van Lieshout.
How do you know when a work is done?
The realisation always hits in a split second. And always during a very unexpected moment.
What is your clearest memory from your childhood?
Being chased by my father, because I had wrecked his wood chisel.
If you could curate your own show, what artworks would be in it, which themes would you like to tackle and what concepts would you like to explore?
I would want to create an exhibition that brings me back to my childhood. I’d sit in a gigantic incubator, wearing a diaper and would have lots and lots of toys scattered around me.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
As a child I was with my knees in the dirt digging for potatoes in the village. Later I worked as a waiter and welder.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Joep, this works sucks. This is a dead end. You have to stop.
– Fred Wagemans
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a project called Disco Inferno. This is a large machine that makes diesel from plastic waste. This diesel is used to fire up different large machines that in turn drive hammers and shredders. The excess heat that is being produced by all of these machines is used to heat up a lovely Jacuzzi.
ABOUT Atelier Van Lieshout
Atelier Van Lieshout is the studio founded by sculptor, painter and visionary Joep van Lieshout. After graduating at the Rotterdam Art Academy Van Lieshout quickly rose to fame with projects that travelled between the world of easy-clean design and the non-functional area of art: sculpture and installations, buildings and furniture, utopias and dystopias.
In 1995, Van Lieshout founded his studio and has been working solely under the studio’s name ever since. The studio moniker exists in Van Lieshout’s practice as a methodology toward undermining the myth of the artistic genius. Over the past three decades, Van Lieshout has established a multidisciplinary practice that produces works on the borders between art, design, and architecture. By investigating the thin line between manufacturing art and mass-producing functional objects, he seeks to find the boundaries between fantasy and function, between fertility and destruction. Van Lieshout dissects systems, be it society as a whole or the human body; he experiments, looks for alternatives, takes exhibitions as experiments for recycling, and has even declared an independent state in the port of Rotterdam AVL-Ville (2001)—a free state in the Rotterdam harbour, with a minimum of rules, a maximum of liberties, and the highest degree of autarky. All of these activities are conducted within Van Lieshout’s signature style of provocation—be it political or material.
Van Lieshout combines an imaginative aesthetic and ethic with a spirit of entrepreneurship; his work has motivated movements in the fields of architecture and ecology, and has been internationally celebrated, exhibited, and published. His works share a number of recurring themes, motives, and obsessions: systems, power, autarky, life, sex, and death—each of these trace the human individual in the face of a greater whole such as his well-known work the Domestikator (2015). This sculpture caused controversy before even being placed at the Louvre in Jardin de Tuilleries, but was adopted by Centre Pompidou where it was shown during FiAC (2017).
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: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Centraal Museum, Utrecht; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht; Museum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo; Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar; Centre Pompidou, Parijs; Collectie Marta Herford, Herford; Stichting Prada, Milaan; FNAC, Parijs; Ludwig Forum, Aken; Folkwang-museum, Essen; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich; MoMA, New York, en het Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.