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up to and including 26 September 2010

Atelier Van Lieshout in the Submarine Wharf

The exhibition Infernopolis by Atelier Van Lieshout in the port of Rotterdam was a big hit. No fewer than 20.315 visitors found their way to the port of Rotterdam. Atelier Van Lieshout inaugurated the Submarine Wharf with the spectacular exhibition Infernopolis. In the 5000m2 space Atelier Van Lieshout created a terrifying setting in which medical instruments, vacuum pumps, silos, skulls, skeletons, and giant sperm cells and bodily organs are the main protagonists. Two enormous installations, ‘The Technocrat’ and ‘Cradle to Cradle’, were installed amid a forest of existing and new sculptures.

At 'Infernopolis' you could move among sinister installations and tableaux in which the distinctions between good and evil, life and death, and reality and fiction are erased. Atelier Van Lieshout’s fascination with systems is clearly manifest in the art work The Technocrat (2003-2004), which comprises all manner of apparatus, containers, beds and distillation vats. Together they formed a closed circuit of food, alcohol, excrement and energy. Cradle to Cradle (2009) takes the principle that human waste can be food to the extreme. Looking at this art work, it quickly becomes clear that this machine recycles everything, even people.

Endless circulation

At 'Infernopolis' you could move among sinister installations and tableaux in which the distinctions between good and evil, life and death, and reality and fiction are erased. Atelier Van Lieshout’s fascination with systems is clearly manifest in the art work The Technocrat (2003-2004), which comprises all manner of apparatus, containers, beds and distillation vats. Together they form a closed circuit of food, alcohol, excrement and energy. Cradle to Cradle (2009) takes the principle that human waste can be food to the extreme. Looking at this art work, it quickly becomes clear that this machine recycles everything, even people.

Vision of the future

The exhibition in the Submarine Wharf contained Atelier Van Lieshout’s most recent sculptures, which have never previously been exhibited. These works illustrated the evolution of a new culture resulting from a society of over-consumption and scarce resources. In this culture we saw a harshening of relations between people and an increased will to survive. Through battle scenes and a large, abstracted cannon (WW III, 2010) Atelier Van Lieshout provided a glimpse of a possible future. The sculpture Cascade by Atelier Van Lieshout, placed at Churchillplein in Rotterdam illustrated this theme as well. 

Submarine Wharf

The exhibition in the Submarine Wharf was a partnership between the Port of Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The Submarine Wharf, built between 1929 and 1938, is comparable in size to the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in London. For the next five years, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen organised a different exhibition each year at this extraordinary location. Tickets to the exhibition were for sale at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, including a ticket for the Aqualiner, which leaves for the harbour every hour from the centre of Rotterdam.

Joep van Lieshout

Joep van Lieshout (1963, Ravenstein) lives and works in Rotterdam. Since the eighties he produces objects in polyester, the material that would become his trademark in subsequent years. In 1995 he founded Atelier Van Lieshout, undermining the myth of the individual artistic genius. Atelier Van Lieshout has attained international recognition for objects that occupy the middle ground between art, architecture and design.

To do, to watch

On July 10th, Joep van Lieshout was interviewed in the exhibition (in English). Infernopolis was accompanied by a debate on cradle to cradle on September 9th (in English). 

The museum's television program Boijmans TV dedicated an episode to the artist Joep van Lieshout, you can watch it on ArtTube, the museum's online video channel.

On ArtTube, you can also watch a film by The Office for Nonfiction Storytelling about the Submarine Wharf and the exhibition.

For more information about the Submarine Wharf, the exhibition, activities and practical information, visit: www.submarinewharf.com.

The exhibition is part of the official programme of Holland Art Cities 2009-2010.