Atelier Van Lieshout at Art Rotterdam 2024
The large-scale sculpture Vulture, by Atelier Van Lieshout, is featured in the Outdoor Works section at Art Rotterdam 2024. In front of the entrance to the Van Nelle Factory and elsewhere on the grounds Art Rotterdam will display more than 20 large-scale outdoor works.
Vultures are as imposing as they are repulsive. Death is near when this scavenger arrives. However, vultures are also resourceful, persistent and an indispensable link in many ecosystems.
Joep van Lieshout has depicted a stylised vulture: powerful, yet cold, far from approachable. This beast has the beauty of efficient kitchen tools. Lacking the nobility of an eagle or hawk, birds that, unlike the vulture, often appear in family crests and on flags. Anyone who sits on this sculpture’s pedestal takes a seat on the vulture throne; the seat of an amoral ruler. However, beneath the herald of death’s talons lies an egg: a symbol of new life.
According to Van Lieshout, artists are comparable to vultures. They devour everything that might serve as inspiration, old and new, and are viewed with suspicion. Van Lieshout would have preferred to see collectors viewed as vultures: as they hungrily circle vulnerable art.
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.