Blast Furnace is a 40-foot-tall maze-like structure comprised of pipes, conveyor elevators, staircases, and mezzanines. Although industrial in form and purpose, the sculpture also contains domestic elements as a kitchen, sleeping quarters, and toilets, all fabricated by Atelier Van Lieshout. In the fictional world of the piece, a “New Tribe” of metal workers, driven by their desire to return to industry, simple products, social cohesion, and the origins of our wealth, design and culture, have created a settlement inside Blast Furnace. Setting the stage for the synthesis of man and machine, this tribe feeds off the heat, waste, and noise of their industrial utopia.
Blast Furnace stems from AVL's project New Tribal Labyrinth, which reflects on society's dependence on a complex, globalized economy. The project focuses on the pillars of an alternative society inhabited by imaginary tribes: farming, industry and ritual objects.
Blast Furnace was discussed in depth during Curatorial Conversations: Agustina Woodgate, Atelier van Lieshout, Sarah Braman on June 12, 2020. Watch the video archive here: