The Basement depicts Van Lieshout’s quest to improve the quality of life for the cats in the Hermitage Museum, where there is a 200 year tradition of keeping cats in the basement to catch the mice. A short film documents his efforts as he cleans and paints their home, designs Modernist-inspired scratching posts, creates new climbing towers and installs artworks for their enjoyment. Interviews with the museum director, staff and the volunteers who look after the cats present a variety of perspectives on the situation, and the film is screened at the end of a make-shift tunnel daubed with photocopies of cats, drawings and collages of political and other figures. The edition Sonia, 2017, is based upon a sketch created during the production of the installation and incorporates Van Lieshout’s recognisable approach using stickers, vinyl, hand drawn and painted elements.
ABOUT ERIK VAN LIESHOUT
Born in Deurne, The Netherlands in 1968, Erik van Lieshout lives and works in Rotterdam. Previous solo exhibitions include The Show Must Ego On, WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, 2016; Delegierte Performance for WWTBD, Marien Jongewaard at Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, 2013; Commission, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, 2012; Erik makes Happy, BAWAG Contemporary, Vienna, 2011; How Can I Help You, Hayward Gallery Project Space, London, 2011; Im Netz, Ludwig Museum, Cologne, 2009. Recent group exhibitions include Drawing | The Bottom Line, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent, Belgium, 2015; Political Populism, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria, 2015; Celebrate Life!, Kunst historisches Museum Vienna, Austria, 2015; Manifesta 10, The European Biennial of Contemporary Art, St. Petersburg, 2014; The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2013 and Point de Vue, Stedelijk Museum, Den Bosch, 2012.