End of Everything / Beginning of Everything

Atelier Van Lieshout’s End of Everything / Beginning of Everything opens at Ferrotopia at NDSM

“A circular economy could be very positive: no waste, reuse of products, smart recycling, no exhaustion of energy and materials. We celebrate destruction without a clear goal, melting objects and using wreckage to make sculpture. In doing so, we lure the dark side towards an optimistic, circular economy.”

—Joep van Lieshout

The latest presentation of Atelier van Lieshout’s End of Everything / Beginning of Everything opens at the NDSM terrain in Amsterdam on 10 May 2018. The End of Everything is a body of work as well as the title of the exhibition, which features the most recent and earliest works from the series.

About End of Everything / Beginning of Everything

The exhibition comprises both sculptures and video works, revealing the beauty of destruction. In addition to sculptures like Calgon, which was made via mechanical destruction caught on camera, the exhibition shows the resulting film/sculptural works, such as The Clock of Transition and The Cage.

The exhibition features The Roller: the very first piece of construction / deconstruction equipment also known as The Flying Dutchman, which kick-started the End of Everything series. Originally designed to flatten art fairs, it is a powerful machine made to destroy roads. It thus allows for the discovery of new routes and new ways of thinking in a continual process of renewal.


End of Everything is an exploration as part of Van Lieshout’s CryptoFuturism, where, a century later, the artist revisits the Italian Futurists to consider resonances between different emerging Fascist tendencies today. By using art to reveal the interplay between utopia and destruction, the work questions, rejects and embraces emerging technologies—from genetic manipulation to robotics and big data—to draw parallels between the societal threats faced in the early 20th century and the perhaps graver circumstances we now face.

A series of compelling videos further reveal Van Lieshout’s thinking behind Ferrotopia, as well as his obsession with technological change, questioning whether to embrace, reject, increase or temper rapid transition. By starting with building huge machines in order to destroy or recycle all possible materials, Van Lieshout deconstructs notions of sustainability with techno-modernist speed, playing a dangerous game with the nostalgia for bygone political theorems. He notes: “The combination of progressive constructivism, destruction and going back to primitive roots of humanity are the foundations for this exhibition.”

Can we accept the fact that change is almost inevitably accompanied by devastation? As Van Lieshout reflects: “With every crash or bang, we are coming closer to a new era.”

The exhibition End of Everything / Beginning of Everything officially opens on 10 May and runs until 24 June 2018, as part of the public art installation Ferrotopia at the NDSM terrain. Admission is free. Ferrotopia is on view until 2 December 2018 and is open to the public Thursday to Sunday from 12 to 8 pm.


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