Atelier Van Lieshout in the Submarine Wharf

Atelier Van Lieshout is inaugurating space with the spectacular exhibition Infernopolis.

29 mei 2010
26 sep 2010

In the 5000m2 space Atelier Van Lieshout has created a terrifying setting in which medical instruments, vacuum pumps, silos, skulls, skeletons, and giant sperm cells and bodily organs are the main protagonists. Two enormous installations, ‘The Technocrat’ and ‘Cradle to Cradle’, are installed amid a forest of existing and new sculptures. A unique partnership between the Port of Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.


Darwin - bron

Endless circulation

At 'Infernopolis' you can move among sinister installations and tableaux in which the distinctions between good and evil, life and death, and reality and fiction are erased. Atelier Van Lieshout’s fascination with systems is clearly manifest in the art work The Technocrat (2003-2004), which comprises all manner of apparatus, containers, beds and distillation vats. Together they form a closed circuit of food, alcohol, excrement and energy. Cradle to Cradle (2009) takes the principle that human waste can be food to the extreme. Looking at this art work, it quickly becomes clear that this machine recycles everything, even people.

Vision of the future

The exhibition in the Submarine Wharf contains Atelier Van Lieshout’s most recent sculptures, which have never previously been exhibited. These works illustrate the evolution of a new culture resulting from a society of over-consumption and scarce resources. In this culture we see a harshening of relations between people and an increased will to survive. Through battle scenes and a large, abstracted cannon (WW III, 2010) Atelier Van Lieshout provides a glimpse of a possible future. The sculpture Cascade by Atelier Van Lieshout, recently placed at Churchillplein in Rotterdam illustrates this theme as well.

Joep van Lieshout

Joep van Lieshout (1963, Ravenstein) lives and works in Rotterdam. Since the eighties he produces objects in polyester, the material that would become his trademark in subsequent years. In 1995 he founded Atelier Van Lieshout, undermining the myth of the individual artistic genius. Atelier Van Lieshout has attained international recognition for objects that occupy the middle ground between art, architecture and design.

Submarine Wharf

The exhibition in the Submarine Wharf is a partnership between the Port of Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The Port of Rotterdam initiated the partnership and asked Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen to organise the exhibition by Atelier Van Lieshout. The Submarine Wharf, built between 1929 and 1938, is comparable in size to the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in London.

To do, to view

Infernopolis is accompanied by a rich programme of events, including free guided tours, an interview with the artist and a debate. You will receive a complimentary booklet with an extensive essay about the exhibition. You can also watch a video by The Office for Nonfiction Storytelling about the Submarine Wharf and the exhibition on ArtTube.


Submarine Wharf
Heijplaatstraat 23
3089 JB Rotterdam‎

Opening hours

29.05.2010 – 26.09.2010
Tuesdays to Sundays, 12 am to 8 pm


€ 5,00 including booklet
€ 7,50 including transport by Aqualiner and brochure
€ 17,50 admission Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Submarine Wharf, including booklet and transport by Aqualiner.
Free Entrance: Youngsters till 18 years and Friends of the museum.