Atelier Van Lieshout, Woman, 2009 (detail), © and photo: Atelier Van Lieshout.

Atelier Van Lieshout, BikiniBar, 2006, © and photo: Atelier Van Lieshout.

Atelier Van Lieshout Installation at an Abandoned Nazi U-Boat Wharf

Onderzeebootloods, Foto Freek van Arkel.

Onderzeebootloods, Foto Freek van Arkel.

Onderzeebootloods, Foto Freek van Arkel.

Atelier Van Lieshout, The Feeder (Cooker), 2003, © and photo: Atelier Van Lieshout.

Atelier Van Lieshout, The Feeder (Cooker), 2003, © and photo: Atelier Van Lieshout.

Atelier Van Lieshout, The Feeder (Cooker), 2003, © and photo: Atelier Van Lieshout.

 

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Submarine Wharf
+31 (0)10 44.19.400
Rotterdam
Atelier Van Lieshout – Infernopolis
May 29-September 26, 2010

The Port of Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen transform an abandoned submarine wharf into the largest exhibition space in the Netherlands. Atelier Van Lieshout has been invited to make the inaugural exhibition. Infernopolis addresses issues that are central to Atelier Van Lieshout’s practice including autonomy, self-sufficiency, power and the economy.

In the Submarine Wharf, with an area of almost 5000m2, Atelier Van Lieshout — established by the Rotterdam-based artist Joep van Lieshout in 1995 — is exhibiting two immense installations and a forest of sculptures. Together these elements form a terrifying setting in which the leading role is played by medical instruments, vacuum pumps, flayed bodies, human excrement, giant sperm cells and bodily organs.

Endless circulation
Visitors to Infernopolis move among sinister installations and tableaux in which the distinctions between good and evil, life and death, and reality and fiction are erased. Atelier Van Lieshout’s fascination with systems is clearly manifest in the art work The Technocrat (2003-2004), which comprises all manner of apparatus, containers, beds and distillation vats. Together they form a closed circuit of food, alcohol, excrement and energy. Cradle to Cradle (2009) takes the principle that human waste can be food to the extreme. Looking at this art work, it quickly becomes clear that this machine recycles everything, even people.

Vision of the future
The exhibition in the Submarine Wharf contains Atelier Van Lieshout’s most recent sculptures, which have never previously been exhibited. These works illustrate the evolution of a new culture resulting from a society of over-consumption and scarce resources. In this culture we see a harshening of relations between people and an increased will to survive. Through battle scenes and a large, abstracted cannon (WW III, 2010) Atelier Van Lieshout provides a glimpse of a possible future.

Joep van Lieshout
Joep van Lieshout (1963, Ravenstein) lives and works in Rotterdam. Since the 1980s he has produced objects in polyester, the material that would become his trademark in subsequent years. In 1995 he founded Atelier Van Lieshout, undermining the myth of the individual artistic genius. Atelier Van Lieshout has attained international recognition for objects that occupy the middle ground between art, architecture and design.

Submarine Wharf
The exhibition in the Submarine Wharf is a partnership between the Port of Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The Port of Rotterdam initiated the partnership and asked Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen to organise the exhibition by Atelier Van Lieshout. The Submarine Wharf, built between 1929 and 1938, is comparable in size to the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in London.

Atelier Van Lieshout, Grinder Assistant, 2009, © and photo: Atelier Van Lieshout.

Atelier Van Lieshout, Uomo Analyticus, 2009, © and photo: Atelier Van Lieshout.

Atelier Van Lieshout, Man Being Butchered and Split, 2009, © and photo: Atelier Van Lieshout.

Atelier Van Lieshout, Darwin, 2008, © and photo: Atelier Van Lieshout.

Atelier Van Lieshout, Operation, 2007, © and photo: Atelier Van Lieshout.