In the summer a section of the sculpture garden is transformed into the Happy Forest, an exhibition by Atelier Van Lieshout.
Atelier Van Lieshout is a multidisciplinary art company that produces work on the intersection between art, design and architecture. AVL was founded in 1995 by the Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout, in order to emphasize that his artworks are created by a team of people. Since then, he has worked exclusively under the name of the studio, as a method by which to undermine the myth of artistic genius.
Brightly coloured Mobile homes
A large section of the sculpture garden, including the events’ terrain and the adjacent sculpture forest, is adorned with ‘organ sculptures’ and mobile homes of brightly coloured polyester – a trademark of AVL – that bear titles such as Workshop for Weapons and Bombs, Wombhouse, Skull and Septic tanks. All the works are allowed to be touched and often even entered. Wombhouse, for example, is equipped with a bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and a minibar. There is also an ice cream cart.
Atelier Van Lieshout is given control over the layout of the site. Because the team’s intention is to ‘lure people into the Happy Forest with the objects’, several large sculptures are also placed along the paths to the events’ terrain and the sculpture forest. Happy Forest is ‘an exciting journey of discovery for the visitor’ according to Van Straaten.
Sculptures alongside the paths guide visitors in the direction of 'Happy Forest' en Installation floor plan of Atelier Van Lieshout, 2005
‘The autarkic nature of AVL’s work’ is particularly emphasized in the exhibition. Although works of art, the mobile units all have a functional use that is aimed at an independent and self-sufficient existence. For example, the sculptures represent alternative possibilities for generating energy, processing waste and there is a farm with chickens, rabbits and sheep.
Exhibition 'Happy Forest', 2005
Society, Friendship, Family
After the exhibition, Van Straaten acquires 7 works by Atelier Van Lieshout: the installations Mini-Disciplinator and Mini-Alcohol and scale models of the sculptures Laocoon, Bacchus with two friends, Society, Friendship and Family.