The Guardian, Erik van Lieshout: the artist trying to reach his friend who can’t speak after a stroke - review, Adrian Searle, 18 January 2022
Maureen Paley is pleased to announce a new exhibition by Erik van Lieshout that will be presented across the gallery’s two London spaces.
The exhibition will focus on the artist’s latest film René Daniëls (2021) and related paintings and works on paper. This project is also the focus of Van Lieshout’s current solo exhibition at De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art in The Netherlands that runs until 13 February 2022.
René Daniëls (b. Eindhoven, 1950) is one of the most renowned Dutch painters of the late twentieth century. In 1987 his career was abruptly interrupted by a stroke from which he has never entirely recovered. His teenage girlfriend Marleen Gijsen, then married and living in Eindhoven, began to take care of him and has done so until this day.
After twenty years René Daniëls has begun to paint again, this time on a small scale, first repeating themes from his older paintings and gradually introducing new ones.
Erik van Lieshout (b. Deurne, 1968) produces videos and drawings in which he investigates art, socio-political topics, and himself. In this latest film, he has created an intimate portrait of the artist René Daniëls that seeks to ask what it is to be an artist and to search for a dialogue with someone with whom no spoken words can be exchanged.
He was invited to make this film by Daniëls’ long-time friend Marlene Dumas in August 2019 when Daniëls received the Culture Prize of the North Brabant Prince Bernhard Culture Fund, for the artistic importance of his work.
With positive support from Marleen Gijsen, he started filming in March 2020 and followed Daniëls for more than a year, visiting him at home in Eindhoven, including on his seventieth birthday, and taking trips to places like Nuenen and to De Pont Museum, where work by Daniëls could be seen in the collection.
Before the premiere of the film at De Pont Museum in 2021, the final edit of the film was shown to René Daniëls and Marleen Gijsen at Daniëls’ home in Eindhoven for their approval. On the premiere day both were present as well as Marlene Dumas.
Educated as a social worker before going to art school at de Ateliers in Amsterdam, Van Lieshout wanted to create an engaging portrait of Daniëls’ present life and work that did not solely focus on his personal challenges.
He has commented that when he was at art school he found Daniëls’ work too far removed from the socio-political reality of the time but that he now identifies a shared artistic perspective, that is grounded in the fact that they are both from the same area in the south of Holland.
The significance of Daniëls’ early work and his position as an internationally renowned artist who breathed new life into the medium of painting is highlighted within the film.
Van Lieshout has made copies of Daniëls’ best-known works throughout the filming process to understand his work better. These paintings use coloured vinyl, oil and acrylic on canvas and have allowed Van Lieshout to arrive at an understanding of the essence of painting which had become foreign to his artistic pursuits since studying as a student.
Erik van Lieshout was born in Deurne, The Netherlands in 1968, and lives and works in Rotterdam.
Previous solo exhibitions include Three Social Works, South London Gallery, London, 2017; Sündenbock (Scapegoat), Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover, 2017; Erik van Lieshout: The Show Must Ego On, WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, 2016; Commission, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, 2012; Erik makes Happy, BAWAG Contemporary, Vienna, 2011; How Can I Help You, Hayward Gallery, London, 2011; Im Netz, Ludwig Museum, Cologne, 2009; Homeland Security, Projekt am Museumsplatz, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, 2007 and Guantánamo Baywatch, Hammer Projects, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2007.
Recent group exhibitions include Ammodo Tiger Short Competition, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands, Stedelijk Base, video works from the collection with Michael Smith, Grayson Perry, Liza May Post, Erik van Lieshout and General Idea, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 2020; Because I Live Here, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, 2018; Unfinished Conversations, MoMA, New York 2017; Forming in the pupil of an eye, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, Kerala 2016, Manifesta 10, The European Biennial of Contemporary Art, curated by Kasper König, St. Petersburg, 2014 and The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2013.