Atelier Van Lieshout: Let’s Get Physical

‘Let’s Get Physical’ is a dynamic exploration of the burgeoning industrial Merwevierhaven area in the west of Rotterdam, highlighted through a selection of 30+ Atelier Van Lieshout sculptures at 12 different locations. It is also a celebration of our regained freedom to be outside, to engage with others, and to be physically active.

Atelier Van Lieshout, the studio founded by artist Joep van Lieshout, was one of the first art studios to settle in the Merwevierhaven in the 1980s and¬¬ continues to expand and foster projects that elevate the area. ‘Let’s Get Physical’, aims to again creatively engage the public with the area in the west of Rotterdam.

This exhibition, a cross section of AVL’s body of work, investigates critical issues of our time and recurring themes in the artist’s repertoire. From animal welfare in factory farming to our destructive agricultural practices; the organization of a society geared towards premium production efficiency and ever-increasing consumption; the body as divine architecture; cycles of life sex, and death. Constant is the tension between society or the system, the individual versus the greater whole. AVL’s work simultaneously breathes cheerful cynicism and pessimistic utopianism.

‘Let’s Get Physical’ starts at AVL Mundo Sculpture Park which serves as home base with an evolving installation, featuring The Technocrat (2003), a complex closed circuit of food, alcohol, excrement and energy, in which mankind’s waste – and man himself – is used as the raw material for the production of biogas, and Alcoholator (2004), a sculpture to produce thousands of liters of liquor every day to keep the Technocrat participants docile and happy. Milkman (2015) can be seen at the Floating Farm, the world’s first waterborne home for cows and The Sower (2018) stands in the Voedseltuin, a foundation that grows organic fruit and vegetables for Rotterdam’s food bank. The new sculpture Utopia (2020), a prototype robot-warrior, guards one of M4H’s entrances. Additional works are in site-relevant dialogue throughout the region at additional participating locations, including: Weelde, Keilecafé, De Voedseltuin, Keilewerf, Stichting Dakpark and several publicly accessible venues.

Let’s Get Physical runs from 18 July — 4 October 2020. For more information and a map of works and locations can be found at