Erik van Lieshout, Studio view April 2020.
The Opening of the Gallery Season will take place on 3 September. Several new shows will open during that long weekend and in the coming weeks, we will give you a preview of what will be on show that weekend. Annet Gelink Gallery Annet Gelink Gallery will present the latest work by the equally famous and infamous Dutch artist Erik van Lieshout.
The work of this artist is rebellious, provocative and intensely personal. "I always find it interesting when certain things are not allowed." In his practice - that varies from drawings, collages and photos to video installations - Van Lieshout offers us his unique outlook on the world, including his own role as an artist. After winning the Dr. AH. Heineken Prize for Art in 2018, he confronted himself about whether his freedom as an independent and politically engaged artist was at stake when an artist receives a large amount of money from a large multinational (specifically in this case: €100,000, half of which is intended for a publication). A few months earlier, the beer brand had to face allegations of physical and verbal harassment of female promotion staff. Last year, the opening exhibition of Het HEM featured a gigantic (and accessible) cardboard box by Van Lieshout: the work "BEER". In the colour scheme, font and logo of the famous beer brand, the enormous word Urine was painted on the box.
Erik van Lieshout, trailer BEER, Annet Gelink Gallery.
The art world is a world that is increasingly ruled by a few international mega galleries such as David Zwirner and Larry Gagosian. They manage gigantic white cubes from Hong Kong to Paris that often show similarities to a museum - Zwirner's planned new gallery space in New York will be the same size as the Whitney Museum. At any major art fair, these gallerists will each sell art worth tens of millions of dollars: Gagosian even turns over a billion dollars annually. In this world, art is not sold to the first interested person. Rather, the prestige of the buyer and an institutional promise (to donate the work to a museum) play an important role. The Instagram account @JerryGogosian provides a humorous and sarcastic glimpse into this world. The name is an amalgamation of the names of Jerry Salz of New York Magazine (one of America's most important art critics) and Larry Gagosian.
Erik van Lieshout, Untitled (Dutch Pavilion), 2017, Annet Gelink Gallery.
But how can you function independently as an artist in this hyper-capitalist system that focuses on luxury? It is a question that is also central to Van Lieshout's recent project "Art Blasé". It is the artist's fourth solo exhibition at Annet Gelink Gallery and it will be on show from September 3 to October 10. The gallery also released a special limited edition Art Blasé face mask, which is now also included in the collection of the Centraal Museum in Utrecht. The name is an anagram of the leading Swiss art fair Art Basel, that has satellite fairs in Miami and Hong Kong. Art Blasé is about luxury, the art market and the position of the artist in all of that. What extra layer does the corona crisis and the resulting economic and political crisis add to this as a whole? In this exhibition, you get to see Van Lieshout's interpretation of "the new normal" in the form of drawings, collages and videos. The project, that has similarities to a diary, was already set in motion long before the virus broke out. Van Lieshout started filming on a cruise ship in the summer of 2019. The video was due to premiere in March but has been postponed to 2021. When the corona crisis started, cruise ships suddenly took on a leading role that fascinated the artist immensely. But it also meant that shows were canceled and that the art world came to an (almost) standstill for a while — and still faces an uncertain future. Political tensions also ran high as the EU seemed to be in danger, a danger that has not yet completely passed. But Van Lieshout is also interested in our renewed love for nature and in the boredom that many people experienced during this time.
Erik van Lieshout, Untitled, (the Basement), 2014, Annet Gelink Gallery.
Van Lieshout is famous for his grand, provocative, humorous and daring statements. He prefers to plunge into a world that is unknown to him. Within this world, he investigates certain socio-political issues, which he then comments on as an outsider. He certainly does not colour within the lines and if he gets the feeling that he is being limited in his freedom, he becomes extra rebellious. For Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg in 2014, he created an enormous cat enclosure for the 100 cats that live in the underground corridors of the prestigious Hermitage. He was asked not to make "cheap political statements". As a result, his absurdist installation (full of cute cats and scratching posts) also included critical texts about Pussy Riot (the politically engaged musicians who were arrested by the Russian regime), lgbtqai+ rights, censorship and Putin's invasion of Ukraine. In 2003 he represented the Netherlands at the Venice Biennale (alongside Carlos Amorales, Alicia Framis, Meschac Gaba and Jeanne van Heeswijk) in a presentation that was curated by Rein Wolfs. In 2013, his work was shown in Venice combined with the work of Mark Manders and in 2011, he was invited to the Dutch TV program VPRO Zomergasten.
Are you curious about how Van Lieshout has reflected on the corona crisis and the role of the artist in an increasingly commercial art world? The exhibition "Art Blasé" will be on show from September 3 to October 10 in Annet Gelink Gallery.