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Sometimes I am just tired of an artist who has received too much attention or whose work I may have seen too many times. For me, this happened to the work of artist Erik van Lieshout. For years I enjoyed the work immensely. It started with his absurd paintings such as "Neger aan het spit" (Negro on a spit, 1994), collection Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam. I wonder how often would that one be on display these days? Or the wonderful 'Painting with balls' (1999), collection of the Fries Museum, a kind of bullying reference to Rene Daniels. I have seen most of the films that Van Lieshout made and if they didn't already make me laugh or move me, they certainly make me think.
In a film by Pieter Verhoeff, Van Lieshout gives a definition of an artist: someone who has something to say about society, but who is not in politics or science. I think that's a beautiful and true description, although I know many artists who don't care at all. Van Lieshout's drawings are provocative, wanton, impudent and violent, sometimes downright lazy, but more often virtuoso. As an art consultant, it was difficult to find something that the average client was enthusiastic about. Fortunately for me people fell for his raw, but striking lines. But at one point I was saturated. The inevitable wall with drawings and a video in a rickety booth at every fair. In addition, I was less fascinated by his later, often small collages of coloured and painted tape. They still came into their own on a large format, but as A4 and A3 works I kept looking at the technology instead of a work of art. To be clear, my gradual disinterest had little to do with the quality of Van Lieshout. I describe it because it is a process that I also see a lot around me. To put it plainly: the lazy feeling of “we know this, on to the next story”. For a few years I left it aside. Fortunately, and that is the power of an ADHD talent like Van Lieshout, an artist sometimes manages to really grab me after a few years. I do not need to see the video that accompanies this drawing, I give it my own interpretation. Personally, I feel like I am watching a t family member from Brabant, sitting next to the billiards table, contemplating his previous, miserably failed ball while his opponent now can finish the game. Nice if you can evoke something like that.