Henry, de Statistocraat

00:04:40 901 Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
The foyer at the heart of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag features a new artwork by Atelier Van Lieshout. Learn more about it in this video!
Joep van Lieshout / AVL

Joep van Lieshout (1963, Ravenstein) founded his studio, Atelier Van Lieshout (AVL) in 1995. Atelier Van Lieshout produces works which straddle art, design and architecture: sculpture and installations, buildings and furniture, utopias and dystopias. What these works have in common are a number of recurring themes, motives and obsessions: systems, power, autarky, life, sex, death.

Read more about the artist

The eight-metre-high sculpture is designed to serve as a visitor information desk and is a humorous nod to the ‘rivalry’ between H.P. Berlage, architect of the Gemeentemuseum, and his Belgian contemporary and confrere Henry Van de Velde. Van de Velde was a founder of art nouveau, trailblazer for the later Bauhaus, and famous in the Netherlands primarily as the architect of the Kröller-Müller Museum. This information desk was a gift to the Gemeentemuseum from its Association of Friends. 

In terms of artistic ideas, Berlage and Van de Velde had much in common: both sought to eliminate the distinction between art and design and to approach architecture as a Gesamtkunstwerk (total art work). At the same time, they were rivals who competed for major contracts – especially for museum buildings. Berlage also produced a design for the Kröller-Müller Museum (which was rejected), and with Henry, the Statistocrat Van de Velde has now placed his stamp on the Gemeentemuseum.

Video credits

Marit Geluk commissioned by Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

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