This weekend saw the opening of a major new exhibition by bad boy Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout in the former submarine wharf of the port of Rotterdam.
Joep van Lieshout’s practice is hardly limited to that of a traditional artist and frequently veers towards the architectural with actual practical application. His parasitic building structures –which are literally meant to be parasitically attached to existing buildings- have been commissioned by a number of museums and public institutions.
Working as an anarchistic kind of collective as Atelier van Lisehout from a complex in an effectively squatted area of disused land in the harbour of Rotterdam, Van Lieshout has often been a controversial figure, least of all for declaring the compound a ‘free state’ in which anything goes. The fact that it frequently did – or more importantly that local residents believed it did- has been something of an ongoing headache for authorities in the port city trying to navigate the line between traditional Dutch tolerance and respect for art and upholding the law. Despite the various legal wranglings and local scandals, Rotterdam nonetheless has a pretty affectionate spot for the artist whose work has been critically acclaimed internationally.
In a unique collaboration between the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and the Port of Rotterdam, Van Lieshout has opened a massive exhibition in the former submarine wharf, built between 1929 and 1938. The huge space will play home to a substantial solo exhibition of works by van Lieshout entitled ‘Infernopolis’ in which the visitor can wonder through an installation of a large number of new and recent works. Addressing van Lieshout’s usual topics – such as consumer societies in collapse and chaos due to failing resources- the experience allows the viewer to wonder through chilling visions of a future society; a contemporary Jheronimus Bosch. As usual, the disturbing ideas are presented in polyester in Van Lieshout’s ironically cartoonesque style.
The exhibition will run until the Autumn and will comprise one of the main cultural attractions in the Dutch port city that is also home to a number of summer cultural festivals ranging from pop music to contemporary visual arts.
31 May 2010