In observance of this year's Biennale themes of ecology and sustainability Zuecca Project Space is proud to present

Joep van Lieshout’s SlaveCity, curated by Natalie Kovacs.

The artist states: “SlaveCity is an exaggeration of where we are going. I see that society is becoming more and more rational, leading to a future where mass data, statistics and programs will be used for making decisions.”


Provocative and controversial, Joep van Lieshout’s SlaveCity is an urban plan for a zero footprint city created with spreadsheet tools to maximize profitability. Built rationally with an absence of morality, residents of SlaveCity are reduced to a metrics of economy in an excel spreadsheet inferno, a look at crypto-technocratic totalitarianism.  An immersive body of work, SlaveCity includes sculptures, models and protocols representing a dystopian utopia designed for 200,000 inhabitants. This Gesamtkunstwerk comprises universities, brothels and museums and is an eco-town using biofuels, renewable energy and organic food.It’s inhabitants, the “slaves,” are unpaid - receiving ‘privileges’ for good performance, while those who are unproductive are recycled, their organs harvested, flesh consumed, used as biogas or composted. 



"As an artist Van Lieshout explores the boundaries of human efficiency and utilitarianism examining how society and consumerist models relate to an Architecture Biennale and future trends that will shape the world. Conceived and built for a brave new world, SlaveCity is a functional city state populated by workers whose every function is calculated to maximize profits and minimize waste. Inspired by our increasingly technocratic society designed by bureaucrats with malevolent accounting software, Van Lieshout has proffered this sardonic ultimate solution for neoliberal states and corporations looking to colonize our eco-future. "  

Natalie Kovacs, Curator 


Joep van Lieshout

Sculptor/ inventor/ architect/ designer/ painter and visionary…

Van Lieshout was accepted to the Rotterdam Academy of the Arts at sixteen years old. After graduating, he rose to fame quickly with projects that travelled between the traditionally non-functional area of art and the world of easy and clean designs, creating sculpture and installations, buildings and furniture, utopias and dystopias. 

In 1995, Van Lieshout founded his studio, Atelier Van Lieshout, and has been working solely under the studio’s name ever since. 

The studio moniker exists in Van Lieshout’s practice as a methodology toward undermining the myth of the artistic genius.

 Over the past three decades, Van Lieshout has established a multidisciplinary practice that produces works on the borders between art, design, and architecture. By investigating the thin line between manufacturing art and mass-producing functional objects, he seeks to find the boundaries between fantasy and function, between fertility and destruction

Van Lieshout dissects systems, be it society as a whole or the human body; he experiments, looks for alternatives, takes exhibitions as experiments for recycling, and has even declared an independent state in the port of Rotterdam AVL-Ville (2001). All of these activities are conducted within Van Lieshout’s signature style of provocation—be it political or material .

Van Lieshout combines an imaginative aesthetic and ethic with a spirit of entrepreneurship; his work has motivated movements in the fields of architecture and ecology, and has been internationally celebrated, exhibited, and published. His works share a number of recurring themes, motives, and obsessions: 

-systems, power, autarky, life, sex, and death- 

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In this summer of our discontent, when the very seams of our collectivity are stretched thin, Joep van Lieshout’s SlaveCity will be presented in near-entirety at the De Pont Museum to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Hieronymus Bosch’s death.

The Invisible Hand, situated in Brussel’s outdoor Tournay-Solvay sculpture park, runs until September 11.

And at Venice’s Zuecca Project Space on the island of Giudecca, a selection from SlaveCity curated by Natalie Kovacs is on exhibit concurrent to the 15th Architecture Biennale.

Please join June 11th at the De Pont Museum in Tilberg, Netherlands to celebrate these manifestations as AVL spreads its viral tentacles across the continent.