September 5, 2016 - WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels - Erik van Lieshout: The Show Must Ego On
September 5, 2016

WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels

Erik van Lieshout, The Show Must Ego On, 2016. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Jhoeko.

Erik van Lieshout
The Show Must Ego On
September 30, 2016–January 8, 2017

WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
Avenue Van Volxemlaan 354
1190 Brussels
Belgium

T +32 2 340 00 53

www.wiels.org
Facebook / Instagram

Erik van Lieshout
The Show Must Ego On
September 30, 2016–January 8, 2017

WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
Avenue Van Volxemlaan 354
1190 Brussels
Belgium

T +32 2 340 00 53

www.wiels.org
Facebook / Instagram

Erik van Lieshout’s survey exhibition features a range of recent films, sculptures and works on paper. They are presented in an environment that transforms the interior of WIELS into an all encompassing, three-dimensional collage.

Van Lieshout’s work is brash and full of energy. Nonetheless, it is the result of an intense process of drawing, filming, editing and building. He creates unusual (sometimes uncomfortable) installations in which to show his films, which can themselves make for uncomfortable viewing. For example, in Sex is Sentimental (2009), Van Lieshout dissects his confusion about having fallen in love with his assistant, questioning whether he can love a person as much as he loves art. Touching upon religion, duty and guilt, Ego (2013) is a form of public penance, comparing his own egotistical practice with the professions of his family members, all social workers. At times, however, Van Lieshout plays the good Samaritan: in The Basement (2014) he sets about to improve the lot of the many cats living in the cellars of St. Petersburg’s famous Hermitage Museum, whose role it has been for centuries to protect the museum’s masterpieces from mice. 

Whilst Van Lieshout’s subject matter is often politically engaged and drawn from his native Netherlands, the work explores universal topics, such as class, immigration and integration. His large protest collages—made in charcoal with patches of brightly coloured vinyl—are based upon newspaper photographs of pro- and anti-immigration demonstrations. And Dog (2015) examines the plight of asylum seekers and the political potential (or futility) of art. It juxtaposes a rambling monologue by an asylum seeker with the artist’s conversations with a group of activists. They invite Van Lieshout to create a memorial for a Russian rocket scientist who committed suicide after having been told (mistakenly) that his application for asylum had been rejected.

Despite such weighty topics, Van Lieshout’s work can be outrageously funny, using satire to reveal the sore spots in our society. With equally brutal honesty, he scrutinizes his own limits and failings, both as a human being and as an artist. His most recent film Die Insel (2016) tests the metaphoric possibilities of an island constructed in an artificial lake near Dortmund. Using the island as a studio space, as an asylum, or as a floating stage that simultaneously isolates and exposes him, Van Lieshout probes the potential to occupy a site—and paradoxically—to disappear.

Curator: Zoë Gray

Erik van Lieshout (b. 1968) lives and works in Rotterdam. The exhibition is accompanied by a book published by WIELS and Koenig Books, featuring texts by Adrian Searle, Fucking Good Art & Zoë Gray. Designed by Experimental Jetset.

With the support of Mondriaan Fund; The Netherlands Embassy; Annet Gelink, Amsterdam; Guido W. Baudach, Berlin; Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna; Anton Kern Gallery, New York; Maureen Paley, London

Events

September 29, 7pm
Opening with conversation between Erik van Lieshout & Zoë Gray, Senior Curator, WIELS (English)

November 13, 4pm
Look Who’s Talking: Francesco Stocchi, Curator, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (English)

December 7, 7pm
Look Who’s Talking: Zoë Gray, Senior Curator, WIELS (French)

January 1, 4pm
Conversation between Erik van Lieshout & Rein Wolfs, Director, Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn (Dutch)

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The Show Must Ego On
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