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.
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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.