More than ever, the world needs a new perspective to bring sanity to humanity’s future; and we might find inspiration – and even some answers – from the Dutch artist Joep Van Lieshout’s new show at the Almine Rech Gallery in Brussels, Belgium.
We are no strangers to Van Lieshout’s paradoxical ideas of Utopia, which can easily be seen in the artist’s earlier works of imaginative human dwellings and living units. The new show, 'Primitive Modern,' displays the development and the transition between the two recent bodies of work 'New Tribal Labyrinth' and 'Neo-futurism.'
In 'New Tribal Labyrinth,' his first vision for the future is a journey back to the past: 'I foresee the emergence of a new tribal world, a primitive society where production takes centre stage. This world will see a return to farming and industry – both of which have currently been banished from our society – and a re-establishment of our relationship with materials, which has been lost. In this new world, ethics will be of less importance; instead, rituals will be re-evaluated, and will offer guidance to the tribes of the future,' he says. Van Lieshout has created all the necessary equipment for his fictional tribes, ranging from items of worship and sacrifice to objects for daily use, dwellings and machines to make the huge Gesamtkunstwerk.
From his labyrinth Van Lieshout emerges into an advanced future. In Neo-futurism, Van Lieshout’s world developed from crude production to technology and progress and the 20th century art movement that promoted the idea of Futurism, but he also contemplates radical change, conflicts and even aggression as necessary components of inspiration. Look at the functional sculpture Les Brutalist, which borrows the geometric shapes from the modernist movements of the early 20th century whilst focusing on man’s most primitive needs.
Looking at the past and future, the primitive and the modern, art and science – as well as utopia and dystopia – to be discussed as ways to build on the ruins of the past.
'Primitive modern' is on view till 19 December. For more information, visit the Almine Rech Gallery website.
20 Rue De l'Abbaye
Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
Yoko Choy is the China editor at Wallpaper* magazine, where she has contributed for over a decade. Her work has also been featured in numerous Chinese and international publications. As a creative and communications consultant, Yoko has worked with renowned institutions such as Art Basel and Beijing Design Week, as well as brands such as Hermès and Assouline. With dual bases in Hong Kong and Amsterdam, Yoko is an active participant in design awards judging panels and conferences, where she shares her mission of promoting cross-cultural exchange and translating insights from both the Eastern and Western worlds into a common creative language. Yoko is currently working on several exciting projects, including a sustainable lifestyle concept and a book on Chinese contemporary design.
Nick Waplington photographs architect Joseph Grima for Stone Island’s ’research project’
Marking the latest Stone Island Ghost collection, Joseph Grima is photographed by Nick Waplington against the backdrop of Oscar Niemeyer’s 1970s-built Palazzo Mondadori in Milan
By Jack Moss Published
Tszwai So’s The Blue hotel redefines Taipei’s landscape
The Blue hotel sees architect Tszwai So take an experimental approach with Just Inn’s new flagship in Central Taipei
By Sofia de la Cruz Published
Vidde Alfa electric snowmobile features sleek design by Pininfarina
The new Vidde Alfa, an innovative product from Sweden, is the first all-electric snowmobile
By Jonathan Bell Published
Elmgreen & Dragset give poolside lounging a new slant in Miami
The Scandinavian duo’s Bent Pool is the final sculpture in a series of site-specific works to be permanently installed in and around the Miami Beach Convention Center
By Benoit Loiseau Last updated
Appetite for art: Atelier Van Lieshout spills its guts at Ruhrtriennale
By Rosa Bertoli Last updated
Cave man: inspecting Atelier Van Lieshout’s transcendental work
By Nick Compton Last updated