Erik van Lieshout is one of Holland’s most prominent artists and is best known for his installations and videos. Nevertheless, he regularly paints and above all draws. He finds his inspiration in urban culture, its sociocultural melting-pot and its violence and has no qualms about immersing himself for long explorations into non-place zones – like the outer suburbs and frontiers with no real identity – and losing himself, setting himself adrift in unrestrained, openly depressed self-scrutiny verging at times on the morbid and a state of crisis. These overplayed, uninhibited and often provocative autobiographical events are put across with humour and intensity in a continuous, inextinguishable production, punctuated by drawings and collages, which represents the free, direct expression of repressed feelings and holds up an emancipating mirror for all our introspection and past experience.
For his solo exhibition at the Centre d’édition contemporaine, The Assistant, Erik van Lieshout is continuing the chapter opened in his last film Sex is sentimental (2009) and his book Animation book*, published with the Cec for the collective exhibition T. Quelques possibilités de textes (May 18 – June 13, 2009, with Gerard Byrne, Philippe Decrauzat, Aaron Flint Jamison, Christophe Rey, Benjamin Valenza, Jeffrey Vallance and Susanne M. Winterling). The artist proposes a new installation : a space within a space, an office, ‘his assistant’s office’ and an edition entitled The Assistant** : ten boxes (4 originals, 1 text, 19 colour photocopies on glossy paper, A4-format, 2 black/white photocopies, A3-format folded in two, 1 index folded in two and 1 colophon). This office and the boxes are simultaneously both display-case and receptacles for a sentimental encounter and a slice of life, offered in the form of a “pull-out” system of works where the originals are filmed, reproduced, multiplied and finally published.