Erik van Lieshout   
Du bist Deutschland, 2005, felt pen on paper, 29,5 x 42 cm

Born 1968 in Deurne (Netherlands)
Lives and works in Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Cologne (Germany)

Erik van Lieshout talks with people. To create his videos, which are mostly embedded in large-format installations and their accompanying drawings, van Lieshout goes to where people are hurting. He goes into so-called problem districts, sniffs around in basements, sets himself up in a shopping centre – and draws again and again an impressively honest and at times ruthless portrait of our society from the edges. His videos are always charming and almost naïve in their own way and this has a lot to do with the kind of person van Lieshout is. He reveals himself frankly, shows no fear of coming into contact with others and never shirks responsibility. This is also the case in his video installation Rotterdam-Rostock (2006), which was presented in a container in 2006 at the 6th Berlin Biennale, as well as the accompanying drawing Deutschland Ziel (2005). Van Lieshout rode his bike from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea across Germany, the whole time prattling away into the microphone about his own ideas and prejudices about Germany. He sat down with people on their sofas and took stock of a country that is still characterised by xenophobia and prejudice, a country that was anything but “united” 15 years after reunification.