The Island


The busy Dortmunder lake Phoenix See on a former steel plant property is the starting point of Erik van Lieshout’s work. During his first tour of the Emscher area, the artist was instantly fascinated by the lake and the local contrasts. For the Emscherkunst Erik van Lieshout immersed himself in the lake’s microcosm: he lived and worked in the Hörde district for multiple weeks. Every day, he rowed from the main land to the big island, the “lake’s heart piece”. Here he spent most of his time in self-chosen isolation – away from the lake’s busy activities and far away from the routine of everyday work in his Rotterdamer atelier. With his camera in his luggage the artist entered a path of artistic self-discovery.

Van Lieshout is especially well known for his film works, in which he often uses his, as he himself calls it, „dominant presence“ and his extroverted personality as an artistic stylistic device. In his newest work, he pursues a different goal: Erik van Lieshout wants to finally leave the focus and be invisible. But how could that be possible, when the camera is always running and the artist is the protagonist of his own film? The film tells a story of artistic existential crisis, the artist’s dependence on the camera and the drive to self-portrayal but also the wish to vanish without a trace.

The film installation was shown during the exhibition’s opening times in a shop close to the lake Phoenix See, it has since been dismounted and can currently be seen at Erik van Lieshout’s solo show “The Show must ego on” at WIELS, Centre for Contemporary Art in Bruxelles.


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