Annet Gelink Gallery proudly presents its first solo exhibition of Erik van Lieshout (1968, Deurne). In his multimedia installations Van Lieshout raises contemporary social-political themes such as the multicultural society, the position of minorities and the consumer society. He approaches these issues from a personal view by making himself the subject. Because of this approach Van Lieshout's installations are both a personal document and a critical rendering of the developments in current society.
On arrival the visitor enters the magical, noisy world of Erik van Lieshout. The gallery is occupied by an architecture characteristic for Van Lieshout, dominated by wood, lace curtains and a video projection. Red, yellow, blue, black and white refer to the modernistic ideals of De Stijl and Mondrian.
The film in the installation, JANUS (2012, 51 minutes), is about a man from the working-class neighbourhood Rotterdam-Zuid named Janus; the contents of his house were bought by Van Lieshout after his death. Van Lieshout plunges into Janus's life by filming his family, neighbours and fellow-townsmen. By means of interviews he makes a connection with art-political subjects such as the role of the artist and the reduction on art grants. 'Does it bother you as well that the art grants are stopping?', Van Lieshout asks Janus's neighbour residents in Rotterdam-Zuid. The pictures of Janus's environment are interlaced with fragments of Van Lieshout's studio, where a personal interview with actor Marien Jongewaard takes place. Questions such as 'What is my role as an artist?' and 'What do I need?' return in existential monologues of Van Lieshout, interpreted by Jongewaard. Against the backdrop of the economic crisis Van Lieshout focuses himself at his own self-image as an artist and at what is expected of an artist.
In the back of the room hangs a 5 meters wide charcoal drawing in which Van Lieshout has depicted himself in situations in Rotterdam-Zuid, on the street and in Janus's house. In big letters the word CONTACT is written. The Bakery features the installation Ministry of Subculture (2012) - a group of works on paper with the subject 'elite/non-elite', an associative series of absurdities in which the Royal family, Marlene Dumas and Pim Fortuyn are effortlessly interchanged with pin-up girls and modernistic architecture. Just like Mondrian, Van Lieshout analyses ordinary reality by constructing, breaking up and reconstructing images. Looking for new forms to express 'that which you… feel'.