‘I want to be a hobby artist ‘ or ‘I’m fed up with all of that professional art’
Having participated in the art world for over three decades, Joep Van Lieshout is starting to get fed up with its mechanisms. He strongly feels that there is a misbalance in the present art world in which fashions and speculation, art fairs, auctions and fast money have become more important factors than an artistic vision.
Ever since his beginnings, Van Lieshout has disagreed with the establishment and chose the route of the art renegade. From early on, he grabbed any opportunity to create: tools, machines, sculptures, functional objects, furniture, custom made bathrooms and kitchens. His early works were never completely planned out, he allowed them to be determined by external factors. His Beercrate series is a good example of this. After discovering that beer crates happen to have the same size system as standard concrete pavement slabs, he assembled the two and made sculptures out of them, thereby letting chance and coincidence decide on their shape.
With his Hard Edge hyper minimalist modular furniture design and the Soft Edge bathroom and toilet units where the client (much rather than the artist) would eventually decide upon the look of his future bathroom, Van Lieshout chose to have as little influence as possible on his artworks and thereby erased three art immanent features: uniqueness, authenticity and non-functionality. This questioning of art in general and the artist’s role within the system, finally led to the foundation of Atelier Van Lieshout in 1994. With this step the artist removed his own name in order to create space for a non- authorship.