Atelier van Lieshout: Slave City

Installation Views
Press release

Grimm is proud to present two major new exhibitions by Atelier Van Lieshout, the new installation Manufactuur together with SlaveCity, covering both gallery spaces, as well as the special off-site project Hagioscoop that will be on view from Friday, November 30th to Sunday, December 2nd on the Museumsquare in Amsterdam for the occasion of the inaugural Amsterdam Art Weekend 2012.

Atelier Van Lieshout is a multidisciplinary collective that was founded by the artist Joep van Lieshout in 1995. Over the years Atelier Van Lieshout has attained international recognition for work that balances on the boundaries of art, architecture, and design. The often- provocative oeuvre consists of over a thousand projects ranging from sculptures to furniture, mobile homes, and autonomous communes. All projects combined form an extensive research into recurring themes such as autarky, power, politics, life, and death.

For the exhibition Manufactuur at Grimm, Atelier Van Lieshout transforms the gallery space into the interior of a farmhouse. The usually white cube interior of the exhibition space is transformed with wooden boards and it houses solely handmade works from the on-going series New Tribal Labyrinth, including a seventeen meter long Saw Mill that is powered by human muscle strength inside the attached treadmill.

The series New Tribal Labyrinth reflects on our extremely advanced and complex society in which over-consumption and limited raw materials play a crucial role. Atelier Van Lieshout suggests an alternative world order in which the new tribal society will see a return to a simple and self-sustaining way of life.

During the Amsterdam Art Weekend, from Friday November 30 until Sunday December 2, an additional project from the New Tribal Labyrinth is on show on the Museumsquare. The so-called Hagioscoop, a large cross-shaped diorama of about 15 by 10 meters set in the imaginary date of “year zero” houses people as well as livestock. It is the first farm in a series that will eventually be combined with a larger group of farmhouses. They will function as a labyrinth through time, cover- ing ages, history, hope, family, utopia, self-sufficiency, design and deviancy.

The gallery space on the Keizersgracht will be entirely devoted to Atelier Van Lieshout’s utopian urban project SlaveCity (2005-2009). In SlaveCity views on ethics, nutrition, environmental protection, organization, management and markets are being questioned and re-interpreted. The works in the exhibition show a city equipped with a highly modern infrastructure of universities, health centers, shopping malls, brothels, abattoirs, museums and other services. The sinister downside is that all the inhabitants of this imaginary city are slaves of a system that only serves to maximize its profits.