Grote Marktstraat, Den Haag
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Are they skulls or potato-sized heads? That is the question you ask yourself when you look from a distance at the stack of aluminium forms on one of the pedestals in the centre of The Hague. Even at a closer distance, it is not clear.
This plinth sculpture Veelhoofd was made by Atelier Van Lieshout, the internationally renowned studio of artist Joep van Lieshout (1963). He runs his studio in the Rotterdam harbour area like a business and employs about twenty people. Atelier Van Lieshout produces all of the sculptures, furniture, mobile homes and theatre sets that Van Lieshout devises. Characteristic of the often groundbreaking designs of Atelier Van Lieshout is the use of polyester, sprayed in distinctive colours ranging from poisonous green and bright orange to mud brown.
Many of Van Lieshout's works deal with power and labour, politics and revolution, and a self-sufficient society. Moreover, he is fascinated by man and the systems he builds, as well as classic subjects such as life and death. His sculptures and installations show us the effect of our increasingly efficient society. At the same time, they give us an insight into how we, as individuals, can hold our own in this. Or escape it.
Van Lieshout's designs are as unorthodox as they are critical and contrary. SlaveCity (2005-2009), for instance, offers a view of a utopian society in which maximum profit is the starting point, while Foodmaster (2009) depicts the extreme consequence of our industrialised food production. This work of art shows a system in which human flesh is also processed into food. In addition to these larger series, mostly in polyester, Van Lieshout also works on smaller-scale works, often in bronze or aluminium. The pedestal sculpture Veelhoofd also fits into this line. Van Lieshout is never entirely clear about the meaning of his sculptures. It seems more like a sum of associations: skulls, potato eaters, sugar beets, Halloween masks.