Cascade (2010) Atelier Van Lieshout

photo Otto Snoek
About the artwork

In 2008 Sculpture International Rotterdam asked Atelier Van Lieshout to develop a work of art for the heart of the city. The eight meter high sculpture Cascade is the result. The statue is made of polyester; the material that can almost be seen as a signature of Atelier Van Lieshout. Eighteen oil barrels stacked on top of each other, which seem to fall from the sky like a waterfall, together form a monumental column. A viscous mass drips from the life-size vessels, in which the figures of twenty human figures can be discerned. They are anonymous creatures, often in dramatic poses. A few climbs up. Compared to the robust contours of the oil drums, the figures are limp and shapeless. Nevertheless, these figures form a network that serves as support for the column. Barrels and human figures, hard and weak shapes, are fused together into one whole. As a source of inspiration, artist Joep van Lieshout cites victory columns, especially the Pestsäule in Vienna. It also refers to the recession and the banks, which are located in the vicinity of the artwork. Cascade is a reference to a career race that is substantively related to Slave City, a long-term art project by Van Lieshout, which consists of many different parts and together shows a dystopian world view. The use of oil barrels refers to the port of Rotterdam. For more information: Sculpture International Rotterdam.

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About the artist

Joep van Lieshout (Ravenstein, 1963) is an internationally renowned sculptor and designer, based in Rotterdam. With his collective Atelier van Lieshout, founded in 1995, he has renowned designs to his name. Van Lieshout often explores ethical boundaries with his work, as becomes visible through the long-term project 'Slave City'. Van Lieshout has been honored with various prizes, including the Charlotte Köhler Prize (1991), Prix de Rome (1992), Chabot Prize (1997) and the Wilhelminaring (2000).

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