Drive-in Cinema - The exhibition is set up as a depressing Rotterdam environment with containers, lorry tarpaulins, cars and garages – and insufficient finances. In Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s large exhibition galleries, Erik van Lieshout (Deurne, 1968, lives and works in Rotterdam) has built a drive-in cinema in which to show his new film: about a family in Brabant, about money, the nouveau riche and art collecting, fast cars and a contemporary lifestyle.
‘This is set to be the film spectacle of the year. Nobody knows whether Erik van Lieshout is real or not. Everyone is taken in by him, not least of all himself. He races all over, from China to Mexico, on a bicycle through Germany and returns home to Rotterdam to cry his eyes out by the fire. But even when he undertakes a journey through his own neighbourhood, his own city, he is still not at home. And the worst thing is: his mother isn’t coming to the opening because she is giving foot massages in Tanzania.’
A razor-sharp analyst of our times. Erik van Lieshout makes work that cannot be dissociated from our society. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is organising the first survey of his work from the last six years: all his films, a selection of drawings and a new series of paintings. Van Lieshout’s presentation in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is a journey through modern life in all its manifestations.
This new film entitled Rock is accompanied by a presentation of new paintings. After a long break from painting, during which he has concentrated on films and drawings, Van Lieshout has recently returned to the medium. Alongside Rock there are nine other films by Erik van Lieshout on show at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Presented in garages, they deal with the multi-cultural reality of life in Rotterdam-Zuid (Respect), the world of mental disability (Happiness), hip-hop (EMMDM and Lariam), the Germans and their history (Rotterdam-Rostock) and much more.
Catalyst of Emotions
Whereas Erik van Lieshout made his name in the 1990s with his powerful drawings and paintings, over the last six years he has focussed more on films and installations. In the meantime Van Lieshout has developed into a fully-fledged video artist. He makes poignant films that represent the pulsing rhythm of life today. His protagonists are Germany’s unemployed, ‘soft’ therapists, Theo van Gogh sympathisers and opponents, Chinese girls, junkies in Rotterdam and Ghanaian rappers. But actually the artist always casts himself in the leading role. Van Lieshout is upfront and honest, often exhibitionist and provocative and always a catalyst of emotions. He presents reality in a raw yet subtle manner.
In the last few years he has turned the camera on himself, as in the video installation Up!, which is on show at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Van Lieshout: ‘A recurring element in my work is the manner in which I present myself in relation to others. This film gets closer to who I am. In the final analysis it raises the question: how can you be an artist and still be happy? Existentialist, political, not quite kitsch and also definitely not therapy.’
The exhibition and accompanying publication have been organised in association with the Kunsthaus Zürich and the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich. The project has been realised with special subsidies from the Centrum Beeldende Kunst and the Dienst Kunst en Cultuur in Rotterdam.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with a substantial essay by Tom Morton (Frieze London) and an interview by Rein Wolfs and Mirjam Varadinis. The publication has been designed by Elektrosmog (Zurich) and is published by JRP/Ringier in Zurich in three different editions: Dutch, English and German; 304 pages; Price: €32.00
Dolf Henkes Prize
The prize-giving ceremony for the Dolf Henkes Prize to Erik van Lieshout will take place Friday 24 November from 4.30 p.m. at the Arminiuskerk, Museumpark 3 prior to the opening in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.