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Shrine-by-Joep-van-Lieshout

The Invisible Hand, One Theme, Many Issues

By Chris Colemont                           

As a part of the cultural programme organised in celebration of the Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the European Union, “Espace Européen pour la Sculpture” has assembled the exhibition “The Invisible Hand” from April 13th until the 11th of September.

Held at Tournay-Solvay Park under the patronage of the Dutch Ambassador Maryem van den Heuvel, and curated by Natalie Kovacs, the outdoor exhibition featured works of the two Dutch prominent contemporary sculptors-artists Joep van Lieshout and Leonard van Munster. Landscape and sculptures combine like the flora and fauna providing a prestigious show of great significance and high artistic value.

The-Gift-by-Joep-van-Lieshout
The Gift by Joep van Lieshout (2014), Fiberglas Collection Lieve and Geert Behaegel. Abstracted figures exchange gifts as tribal totem for worship that is also an element of van Lieshout’s New Tribal Labyrinth series.
The Goldener Berg by Leonard van Munster (2014) - Expanded polystyrene, wood and a thin layer of gold rescue foil. Not all that glitters is gold... This piece was exhibited for the first time at the private estate of the family Von Richthofen in Germany. A top of a golden monument is rising out of the water. The mountain must be huge with its majority continuously under the water. The hollow mountain is made of survival blankets, the ones used to wrap people to keep them warm in emergency situations. With the European refugee crisis in mind, the work couldn’t be more timely.
The Goldener Berg by Leonard van Munster (2014) – Expanded polystyrene, wood and a thin layer of gold rescue foil. Not all that glitters is gold…
This piece was exhibited for the first time at the private estate of the family Von Richthofen in Germany. A top of a golden monument is rising out of the water. The mountain must be huge with its majority continuously under the water. The hollow mountain is made of survival blankets, the ones used to wrap people to keep them warm in emergency situations. With the European refugee crisis in mind, the work couldn’t be more timely.
The Invisible Hand by Joep van Lieshout (2007-2012), Fiberglas The title refers to Adam Smith’s contested theory that the pursuit of individual interest results in social and economic benefit for all. This sculpture is about systems and offers a comment about how the economy controls society and how according to van Lieshout, “money rules the world”.
The Invisible Hand by Joep van Lieshout (2007-2012), Fiberglas
The title refers to Adam Smith’s contested theory that the pursuit of individual interest results in social and economic benefit for all. This sculpture is about systems and offers a comment about how the economy controls society and how according to van Lieshout, “money rules the world”.

But whose hand is it? A question that comes to your mind as soon as you get in. Is it a sculptor, an artist, a spirit? is it good, is it bad? Every viewer sees it differently and interprets it his own way.

Of his sculpture, Joep van Lieshout says: “It’s a man hanging on a hand; The Invisible Hand, is a question mark that probes our dependence on economy and how money rules the world… our development from animal species to a ‘rational’ lifestyle society.”

But this spectacular set up had a lot more to say. Regardless the general theme, each and every piece had a message to send and an issue to highlight.

The Burghers by Joep van Lieshout (2013), Fiberglas The Burghers signify humanity, civilians, unity and entrapment in society. Unforeseeable forces question what one will do in a crisis, what role will one play? Hero? Nerd? Killer? Helper? Healer? Traitor? Saint or sinner?
The Burghers by Joep van Lieshout (2013), Fiberglas
The Burghers signify humanity, civilians, unity and entrapment in society. Unforeseeable forces question what one will do in a crisis, what role will one play? Hero? Nerd? Killer? Helper? Healer? Traitor? Saint or sinner?
Shrine-by-Joep-van-Lieshout
Shrine by Joep van Lieshout (2012 – 2016), Bronze An abstracted sculpture of a pig which deifies the animal making it a sacred monument for ritual; an element of van Lieshout’s New Tribal Labyrinth.
Panta-Rhei-by-Joep-van-Lieshout-Panta-Rhei-by-Joep-van-Lieshout
Panta Rhei by Joep van Lieshout (2011), Fiberglas Panta Rhei is about harmony and balance, consisting of three figures that are connected via funnel tube. These interconnected thinkers become one while simultaneously defecating. The excrement becomes the foundation of the sculpture. Everyone is one and everything flows, “anything goes”.
Food-Processor-by-Joep-van-Lieshout
Food Processor by Joep van Lieshout (2015), Acrylic Resin A model of a future farm, a utopian machine that functions like the human body, which van Lieshout regards as the “ultimate system”; the sculpture offers a futuristic opportunity for unlimited food supply as a solution to the world’s diminishing resources. Paying homage to man and machine morphing into a singular entity, the work takes waste and combines it with bacteria and enzymes producing a super food of the future. This genetically manipulated organic machine is part of van Lieshout’s series ‘New Tribal Labyrinth’.
Buffel-by-Joep-van-Lieshout
Buffel by Joep van Lieshout (2011), Fiberglas Modern man, sculpted from one block. Man and cage become one. The inanimate becomes animate. The human possesses the object which possesses the human.

ABOUT Joep van Lieshout

Joep van Lieshout (Ravenstien, 1963): A sculptor, visionary, and entrepreneur, he is a graduate from the Rotterdam Academy of the Arts, and he works under his Atelier Van Lieshout name since 1995. He has exhibited at museums and galleries worldwide his works, known to surpass art, design and architecture. They evoke a number of recurring themes, motives and obsessions: systems, power, autarky, life, sex, death. The human individual in the face of a greater whole. www.ateliervanlieshout.com

ABOUT Leonard van Munster

Leonard van Munster (Zwolle, 1972): A sculptor who creates installations in the public space, in places where the surroundings form an important part of the experience. His work is usually only displayed for short periods of time, after which only the memory remains. The themes of desire, happiness and childhood memories are important in his work. He tries to recreate these moments by building them. www.leonardvanmunster.com

Credit photos: Photos taken in the park, on the location of the exhibition by Chris Colemont.

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