Cascade by Atelier van Lieshout


Dutch designers Atelier Van Lieshout will unveil an eight metre-tall sculpture featuring oil drums and human figures in Rotterdam tomorrow.

Called Cascade, the piece was commissioned by Sculpture International Rotterdam and is made of polyester.

Eighteen barrels form a column over which the figures are draped.

More about Atelier van Lieshout  on Dezeen:

Furniture II at Carpenters Workshop Gallery, including Fertility Lamp (October 2009)
Mini Capsule Hotel (June 2009)
Furniture at Carpenters Workshop Gallery, including Sensory Deprivation Skull (October 2007)
Board Room (July 2007)
Female Slave University (April 2007)

Here's some more information from the designers:


The eight-metre tall sculpture is made of polyester, a material that can almost be regarded as the signature of Atelier Van Lieshout. Eighteen stacked oil drums, which appear to descend from the sky like a waterfall, combine to form a monumental column. From the life-size drums drips a syrupy mass in which one can make out the shapes of a score of human figures. They are anonymous beings, many of them in dramatic poses. Some of them climb upwards. In comparison with the robust contours of the oil drums, the figures are limp and formless. Despite that, these shapes form a network that supports the column. Drums and human shapes, rigid and limp forms, have melted together into a single whole.

Cascade, is the embodiment of a social statement. Reminding of victory columns, especially the Pestsäule in Vienna, as the source of inspiration. In 1693 the city of Vienna celebrated the end of the great plague epidemic with this baroque memorial. In Cascade, which is equally baroque, the clouds and angels are replaced by oil drums, emblems the international port of Rotterdam. The celebratory atmosphere of the Pestsäule has been displaced by more sombre mood. The sculpture by Atelier Van Lieshout evokes associations with the current economic crisis, the exhaustion of raw materials and the bankruptcy of the consumer society. These interpretations are brought into sharper focus by the sculpture’s location at the junction of Coolsingel and Blaak, at the centre of the commercial and financial heart of Rotterdam.

Posted on Friday March 5th 2010 at 4:00 pm by Antonia Anastasiadi. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • When I saw it, I thought it was a kind of eco statement…

  • Zaedrus

    I love it. Concept sketch through execution – well done!

  • stev

    dutch DESIGNERS??? They are famous artists, this is not design bur contemporary art – and very good.

  • sososo

    love it !

  • Anger of the North

    This is actually really good, although why did van Lieshout have to cover the barrels with polyester too? He does that with all his work.

    Either way, I actually like this, unlike a lot of his other work which I’ve seen in the flesh and found to be pretty rubbish, to be blunt.

  • The Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace

    Joep van Lieshout is great because he is not being a pussy about things.

  • Erik

    It should stay on the boat..
    That’s the best envirment for it..
    Art/Design what’s the different?

  • bb boza

    i would prefer a Paul McCarthy sculpture. The real deal.

  • love this, have you seen the bars they have designed? The sperm shaped bar, the lower intestine bar and the headless body bar!

  • This is so wonderfully playful. I love how the whole thing looks like its melted just a little in the sun. It really captures the worlds current mood perfectly.
    Sickly glistening oil drums with people clambering to the top trying to get higher, richer, more fashionable and melting in the process.

  • Zaedrus you said it all…………….. I’d love to see this thing up close.

  • it is great. now i want a paperweight version to be sold at my local museum gift shop

  • I, for one, like my dinosaur soup burning car.

    To be honest, I would have liked to have seen the original sketch shine through. Going all one dark color, makes the sculpture less interesting, and more like a camouflaged mess. I would have used different colors for the barrels and anamorphic oil figures.

    The forms and shapes contrasted with two colors is a million times more interesting to look at then the giant dark mess. You have a repetitiveness in the stiff barrel forms and then in a loose organic sense with the figures. That play is fantastic. Just repaint the barrels, and I think you have a stunning piece.

  • Dave Coventry

    Very thought provoking, eliciting differing visceral responses based on the perspective of those viewing it. Some see man using industry as a way to climb upward. While others see it as the oil industry bringing us all down by covering our world in a messy sludge. Great art. The black really reinforces the oily mess theme. I hope this piece goes on tour and makes it to Houston, Texas.