Atelier Van Lieshout is bringing its signature architecture-scale, dystopian sculptures to New York this spring. Starting March 1, Pioneer Works in Brooklyn will host The CryptoFuturist and The New Tribal Labyrinth, described by the art space as "the first large-scale exhibition of work by Atelier Van Lieshout (AVL) in the United States." AVL is known for its provocative pieces, including one that proved too controversial for the Louvre in 2017. The collective's works often take the form of fantastical machines that exaggerate or satirize capitalist and industrial practices. For the Pioneer Works show, AVL will display Blast Furnace, a work from 2013 comprising a 40-foot-tall mix of industrial hardware that a family supposedly lives inside of. The work is apparently "inspired by a desire to the return to industry" in the face of changes to the nature of work in the 21st century. Other works in the show riff of Italian Futurism and link aspects of the movement to the seeming resurgence of fascism today. The CryptoFuturist and The New Tribal Labyrinth will be on display at Pioneer Works from March 1 through April 14.
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The Louvre has put the kibosh on a controversial sex sculpture that was set to go up in its next-door neighbors' garden. The Domestikator is an architectural sculpture created by Dutch collective Atelier Van Lieshout in 2015, depicting two red humaniform buildings engaging in what can only be described here as a lewd act. The sculpture was scheduled to be exhibited in Paris' Tuileries Gardens as a public-facing element of the FIAC contemporary art fair in October, but has just been withdrawn after protest from the Louvre, the gardens' neighboring institution. Jean-Luc Martinez, the Louvre's acting director, sent a letter of explanation to Le Monde in which he wrote that the work "risks being misunderstood by visitors to the garden." Seeing as the sculpture would have been located near a playground and within direct eyesight of the museum's patrons, it is altogether easy to imagine the board meeting leading to this decision. It may seem even less surprising after a much more vitriolic response quashed the installation of a giant Paul McCarthy sculpture (resembling what can only be described here as a "hidden accessory") as it rose in one of Paris' central plazas. With AN's steadfast commitment to a neutral tone, we will not (at this time) take a firm stance on the controversy beyond noting that Domestikator is painted a very nice red, employs massing creatively, and we wish we were writing this under the light of its tower room window. Atelier Van Lieshout has offered its own take on the sculpture in slightly more subtle terms than might be expected: "The act of domestication ... often leads to boundaries being sought or even crossed. It is this difficult balance that Atelier Van Lieshout seeks to address." The description on its website makes a slightly bolder statement: "It symbolizes the power of humanity over the world and pays tribute to the ingenuity, the sophistication and the capacities of humanity, to the power of organisation, and to the use of this power to dominate the natural environment." In this context, the roles occupied by the buildings take on a bit of a different light ... definitely involving a tad more subordination. The collective's founder, Joep Van Lieshout, originally planned to live within Domestikator for the duration of the festival, creating "a series of objects in collaboration with invited artists." AN's imagination is running wild with exactly what those objects might have been. After the festival's planner's attempted to find alternate locations for the structure and failed, it appears the installation has been entirely dropped from the program. The sculpture is being de-installed today from the RuhrTriennale (an arts festival) in Bochum, Germany.
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Architect builds a shocking pavilion to explore society's domination of nature
Bochum, Germany is host to Ruhrtriennale, a six week art festival which opened last weekend and gave Joep van Lieshout of Atelier van Lieshout a chance to create his biggest—and most shocking—work to date. In a place that, according to the exhibition's website, is "for everyone who is curious," Ruhrtriennale exhibits the Domestikator which aims to explore society's role with nature. The project explores domestication and domination from an ethical perspective, and, as the not-so-subtle sculptural reference to beastiality demonstrates, how boundaries can be crossed during this process. Domestikator also touches on man's relationship with technology, hinting that society itself is being domesticated by technologically driven systems. Van Lieshout further revisits themes such as utopia, dystopia, idealism, power, religion and love as part of an ongoing series called New Tribal Labyrinth which can be seen in previous projects such as The Farm, Hagioscoop, and the Saw Mill/Cheese Maker. The series tenders a dystopian, post-nuclear-fallout-like future whereby imaginary tribes return to basic agricultural and industrial ways of life with the Domestikator acting as a religious temple for the masses. New artistic director Johan Simons says van Lieshout's installation will "create a lively and aesthetically chaotic place for for artists, festival makers, visitors and everyone who is simply curious." Tickets and information on the event can be found on the Ruhrtriennale website. https://instagram.com/p/5nMF14QbCl/ https://instagram.com/p/5nMF14QbCl/