“It is, but one of our flaws To us, light beckons, and darkness draws”
Dark, with a humorous touch to it, is what we can say of Atelier Van Lieshout’s work. Merely calling it “art” would scarcely be justice to their work, which seems to spread across the realms of architecture and design as well, bridging them in a way unique to Van Lieshout alone.
Born in 1963, the founder of AVL, Joep Van Lieshout, often produces work that is representational in nature dealing with the darker side of human beings, the dysfunctional life, power, politics, death etc. His structures often seem to exist in dualities, sometimes veering slightly towards a deconstructive nature, leaving the spectator awestruck.
Mix this as the main ingredient in the vibrant and chaotic concoction of culture, music, arts, literature and what not, you will get this year’s Ruhrtriennale, a six week long paradise set in Bochum, Germany.
Ruhrtriennale celebrates AVL in the form of an Art Village- “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, which boasts to be their largest installation till date. It features around twenty pieces installed in the grounds of the event’s Jahrhunderthalle conference center. This Village looks back at the studio’s work while serving as the principal focus of the festival. Main pieces include AVL’s 2005- Bar-rectum, The Head Claudio and The Head Hermann, recent works like The Black Madonna and Two Monumental Canons. The installation at the Ruhrtriennale can be seen from 14th August to 26th September, 2015.
The show also debuts a new piece which also happens to be the main focus of the festival, and aptly so. Named, “the Domestikator”, it is a large scale building work, a tribute to the capacity of Humans, their power while also addressing the darker, innate nature of constantly seeking control and domestication of nature. It also brings to forefront, the taboos of our society, themes like Bestiality and Sexuality.
The Bar-rectum is one of the most recognized works of AVL. It is a Bar, to be precise, in the form of an anatomically correct model of the Digestive System starting at the tongue, via stomach and small and large intestines to the exit, that is, the anus, hence the name. Only the last part has been inflated to hold the customers. Looking at it, one is deemed to wonder at the artist, whether he deliberately used that part of our anatomy to represent a Bar which seems most easily affected by the use of it.
The Black Madonna is an Axe- bearing mother holding her child. The two Monumental Canons represent a past age of weapon design. The Head Claudio & The Head Hermann are a pair of giant heads, placed horizontally on the ground
It is clear that the artist has given a lot of thought to each piece and each one provokes the consciousness and forces one to wonder.
By: Antara Jha