‘Disco Inferno’ is an industrial monster with an insatiable appetite for its own products. Forty years of artistic research, experimentation and incessant output inform this Gesamtkunstwerk, which can be read as a self-portrait of Van Lieshout as obsessive system builder, seer, inventor, architect, maker of machine sculptures, engineer and shifter of boundaries.

Like all AVL works, ‘Disco Inferno’ is an exercise in self-sufficiency. It is a self-sustaining universe – a labyrinth of countless sculptures, handmade machines, hybrid engines, furniture, other artists’ work, utopias and dystopias – “all stemming from the hammer, the ultimate instrument of change”. The industrial monster is composed of giant, in-house designed and built machines, a spaghetti mash of generators, pumps and shredders, all propelled by a bizarre range of sculpted engines that can run on almost anything (vegetable oil, butter or homemade pyrolysis oil). It is a spectacle of industry and its potential in never-ending motion, yet the work’s only real purpose is to keep going – and to heat the jacuzzi in ‘The Happy End of Everything Spa’. Accompanied by the bubbling and pounding of all these machines, “as long as we have oil or waste plastic, we can keep dancing on the edge of the volcano”. JVL

With ‘Disco Inferno’, Van Lieshout continues to sculpt a new material vocabulary. Atelier Van Lieshout gained international recognition for living sculptural installations that function to assert or question independence; inventing objects, structures, machines and thematic bodies of work that annihilate the boundaries between art, architecture and design. In Van Lieshout’s distinctive language, everything is an experiment in what “could be”. AVL’s transgressive practice dissects and invents systems to flirt with power, autarky, politics, fertility, life, sex and death.

Initiated by: Brutus Base