Erik van Lieshout (*1968, lives in Rotterdam) is one of the most influential contemporary artists in the Netherlands. His works call attention to political grievances and social conflicts in a way that is as relentless as it is humorously ironic. In his films, van Lieshout enters peripheries of society and in a radical fashion cast lights on uncomfortable issues such as migration conflicts, gentrification, right-wing extremism, or the modern culture of consumption.
By acting as a confrontational protagonist, he creates very unique access to places and people, whose attitudes he makes visible. At the same time, van Lieshout’s personal constitution as well as the challenges of being an artist become the object of his dissecting gaze. Against the backdrop of the political and social impact of the economic and financial crisis, his films Janus and Jail, both from 2012, address his own artistic identity between self-concept and the expectations of others, or Dog (2015) shifts the focus to the effects of asylum and refugee policy based on the tragic case of the Russian oppositionist Aleksandr Dolmatov, whose request for asylum in the Netherlands was rejected due to a computer error.
He underlays his film images with stop-motion animations of his drawings and word sketches in fast rhythms and with hard cuts, which underscores the artist’s process-oriented approach. In his extensive installations, created using simple materials, he joins the filmic result of his projects with his critical, expressive drawings and collages. Van Lieshout’s bodies of works frame urgent questions about our time and consistently refocus the relation between private and political, individual and society.