From a distance he looks endearing, the figure Atelier van Lieshout placed in the schoolyard of the Montessori elementary school in Leidschenveen in 2007. Two fat little legs firmly planted on the ground, hardly any indication of a face except for a few protuberances where the ears are and a head slightly bent downward. You immediately feel like giving the big blue statue a big hug. So the children of the school regularly do. This "Friend" is the perfect buut place for a game of hide-and-seek.
Joep van Lieshout gained fame in the mid-1980s with sculptures that explored the boundaries between art and design. For instance, he produced furniture sculptures in rough polyester shapes with pronounced colours such as poisonous green or bright orange. This has become his international trademark. His later designs often revolve around life, or rather survival. To this end, he designs all kinds of things that satisfy our basic needs, such as a roof over our heads or a toilet. To be able to carry out all his free work and his commissions, Van Lieshout set up a company in 1995: Atelier van Lieshout, AVL for short.
With "The Friend," Van Lieshout delivers a work of art that fits his oeuvre in every way. It is both a sculpture and a utilitarian object. Again, it is executed in polyester with a solid color. Extra is that "The Friend" has a screen as a face on which lights flash. Thus, school children can turn to him for positive energy.