Galerie Ron Mandos proudly presents EHBO (“First Aid”), a new solo exhibition by Atelier van Lieshout. Atelier Van Lieshout has transformed Galerie Ron Mandos into a surrealist parallel universe. Makability – as an ideal – reaches its apex here, overachievement resulting in perverse hyperbole. It’s a confrontation with life itself: the failure, the triumph and the inevitable collateral damage.
EHBO feels like a cross between a field hospital, labyrinth and sculpture garden in which religious iconography gets mixed up with all too human and post-human images. This installation is not for the impassive viewer, here the audience must wander amongst every level of human experience.
EHBO shows mankind in its most naked form; brutally hurled into this world. This is when mankind’s true nature reveals itself: both its best and worst. Unimaginable cruelty and betrayal are given free rein, yet so are compassion, friendship and self-sacrifice. Existential crises lead to societal evolution as well as technological innovation, but can also reduce individuals to guinea pigs and their bodies to organic waste.
The EHBO installation displays the gamut of medical science: all the skill and knowledge it encompasses. For the time being, this provides no unequivocal impression. The same political and economic system that spawned progress in medical science is responsible for the diseases of affluence causing a healthcare emergency. Improvised DIY assemblies prove as effective as sound high-tech equipment. However, what is valued can be perverted. Surgical interventions can lead to healing and a better life, but also to retaining functionality until the body gives up. Belief in the human body’s makability engenders progress, but also represents downfall.
Van Lieshout’s works have been included in Centre Pompidou, FIAC, the Gwangju, Venice, Yokohama, Christchurch, Shanghai and São Paulo biennials. AVL is in part of the permanent collections of public and private institutions such as: FNAC, Paris; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Prada Foundation, Milan; Ludwig Forum, Aachen; Folkwang Museum, Essen; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich.