Lieven Meyer, Anti Sculpture Angst Therapy, 2021.
Photo: Normand Métivier

Anti Sculpture Angst Therapy

Lieven Meyer

Public art
Opening reception
Artist talk

Lieven Meyer’s Anti Sculpture Angst Therapy is presented by AXENÉO7 artist-run centre as part of its Public Art Summer Programming and the Autorésidences.

Autorésidences is a remote residency program created by AXENÉO7 in the exceptional context of the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to support research and development of current art practices.

The process behind Anti Sculpture Angst Therapy by Lieven Meyer is a way of rethinking the period of distancing and isolation that we have all experienced for more than a year, in the form of group (self-)therapy, conceived as a rite of passage. Indeed, during this time, the middle of our faces has become a critical zone, revealing a permanent and inextricable danger. This threat, highlighted by the mandatory wearing of face coverings, has spread across the globe, from yesterday to tomorrow.

The name “Anti Sculpture” refers to the origins of the mask, approached as a sculptural object — fetish and/or ritual — worn on the face. During the Baroque period in England from the seventeenth to the early eighteenth century, the mask was the subject of complex multidisciplinary performances interspersed with grotesque interludes called “ante-maskes” or “ante-masques.” Lieven Meyer transposes this concept to the context of sculpture in motion. In his hands, the anti sculpture becomes a tool of outlandish entertainment that reveals this widespread crisis in a different way.

For this project, Meyer has used the casting technique to appropriate a monument built during the German Third Reich (1933–1945). The sculpture, which was set aside for a few years after the war, is still in the public space, but disconnected from its historical context and masked by anonymity. In a dark nod to “Angst”, the German phenomenon of existential anxiety stemming from the traumatic WWII experience, Anti Sculpture Angst Therapy nevertheless embraces a kind of resilience.

The artist's act of transformation contributes to a displacement, taking the historical public sculpture through different stages and states: trauma, erasure, burying through anonymization, un-burying through reappropriation, misappropriation, unveiling and exposure. The question here is whether there is a partial form of real reparation beyond an update and revelation.

Lieven Meyer, Anti Sculpture Angst Therapy (2021). Simon Guibord

Lieven Meyer lives and works between Quebec and Germany. Growing up in the 1980s in former East Berlin in the 1980s, his first artistic influences were sculpture, painting and academic drawing, followed by a self-taught period after moving to the North Sea coast in the 2000s. After training in contemporary sculpture at the Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design in Kiel (Muthesius Kunsthochschule, Germany, 2009-2013), he completed an MFA in visual arts at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM, 2016). His multidisciplinary practice is reflected in three traditional figures of the sculptural medium: placement (territory), the monument (space) and the political issue (body). His research draws on a socio-political, philosophical and historical interpretation of sculpture, focusing on forms of economic and imperial power within present-day Western societies. This process also aims to explore representational contexts through the design of environments, places or events. Meyer teaches sculpture and digital arts in the visual arts program of the École multidisciplinaire de l'image (EMI) at Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO) in Gatineau.

Lieven Meyer is a member of the MeyerMétivier DesignHaus artist duo founded in 2016.

Consult the artist's website