Joep van Lieshout
(The Netherlands) *1963 in Ravenstein
The highly complex work of the Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout unites art, architecture and design. In 1995 he founded the Atelier van Lieshout artists' collective to make clearer the collaborative nature of the artistic teamwork, and to question the role of the artist as genius. Critically and with humour, the Atelier van Lieshout explores social structures and the possibility of autonomous development within society. Autarchy, power and politics, as well a life and death, form the recurrent themes of his work. "WWIII", on display in the Schmuckplatz in the Bad Homburg Kurpark, is an abstract replica of an American field cannon in use today in various theatres of war. Distant wars are nowadays ever-present in pictures and media coverage and yet these pictures have very little to do with the reality of war. The size and menace of "WWIII" seem to be reduced by its blue colour, which makes the weapon seem like an oversized toy. Against this background, this provocative sculpture deals with heroism and civil war – and its title, an abbreviation for 'World War III', delivers a warning of a possible future.