Cascade (2010) Atelier Van Lieshout

Otto Snoek
About the artwork

Joep van Lieshout is one of the most famous artists in Rotterdam. 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 syrupy mass is dripping out of the life-size barrels, in which the figures of twenty human figures can be seen. They are anonymous beings, often in dramatic poses. A few climb up. Compared to the robust contours of the oil drums, the figures are limp and formless. Nevertheless, these figures form a network that supports the column. Barrels and human forms, hard and weak forms, have merged into one whole. Van Lieshout mentions victory columns as a source of inspiration, especially the Pestsäule in Vienna. It also refers to the recession and the banks that are 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 made high-profile designs. Van Lieshout often explores ethical boundaries with his work, as can be seen through the long-term 'Slave City' project. Van Lieshout has been awarded various prizes, including the Charlotte Köhler prize (1991), Prix de Rome (1992), Chabot Prize (1997) and the Wilhelminaring (2000).

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