At the vanguard of contemporary art with Lisson Gallery’s director Claus Robenhagen
FRIEZE NEW YORK BRINGS TOGETHER AN INTERNATIONAL ROSTER OF FIRST TIER GALLERIES AND INNOVATIVE CURATED AREAS THAT INTRODUCE NEW AND EMERGING ARTISTS. THE BOOTH AT LISSON GALLERY (B62) EXEMPLIFIES THE FOUR DECADE HISTORY OF THE GALLERY’S FOCUS AND SUPPORT OF ARTISTS THAT STRETCH OUR IMAGINATIONS AND COMMAND AN IMPORTANT PLACE IN THE WIDE SPECTRUM OF PRACTICES CHARACTERISTIC OF TODAY’S BEST ARTISTS.
LISSON GALLERY WAS FOUNDED BY NICHOLAS LOGSDAIL IN 1967 FOCUSING ON THE AVANT-GARDE OF THAT PERIOD, MINIMALIST AND CONCEPTUAL ARTISTS SUCH AS SOL LEWITT AND RICHARD LONG. IT HAS CONTINUED TO CHAMPION THESE ARTISTS AS WELL AS AN INFLUENTIAL GENERATION OF BRITISH SCULPTORS FROM ANISH KAPOOR AND RICHARD DEACON TO SHIRAZEH HOUSHIARY AND TONY CRAGG. EXPANDING ITS ROSTER TO INCLUDE EMERGING NEW TALENT, LISSON HAS INCREASED ITS GEOGRAPHICAL PRESENCE AS WELL. ORIGINALLY AND STILL ON BELL STREET IN LONDON, LISSON NOW HAS ADDED ELEGANT EXHIBITION SPACE IN MILAN AND, THIS WEEK IN NEW YORK, LAUNCHED AN EXTRAORDINARY GALLERY IN CHELSEA.
CLAUS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR EXPERT CONTRIBUTION TO THE LRFA BLOG. YOU’VE WRITTEN SOME WONDERFUL CATALOGUE INTRODUCTIONS AND ESSAYS ON CONTEMPORARY ART. IN WHAT WAYS DOES YOUR ACADEMIC AND ART HISTORICAL BACKGROUND CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR APPRECIATION AND CONNECTION TO THE GALLERY WORLD?
I think there is always this foundation of knowledge on which you build your work. Though a lot of my work is quite practical, certain exhibitions require a more research-based process.
WHAT PROMPTED YOUR MOVE TO LONDON AND WHEN DID YOU JOIN LISSON GALLERY? WHAT DID YOUR EXPERIENCE IN COPENHAGEN OF THE DANISH ART SCENE BRING TO YOUR INITIAL WORKING RELATIONSHIP AT LISSON?
The great thing about starting out in a small gallery is that you get to know all the practicalities of operation. You have tried working as an installer, registrar, accountant while at the same time offering support to artists and clients.
AS DIRECTOR OF LISSON GALLERY, DO YOU HAVE SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE GALLERY? DO YOU WORK WITH SPECIFIC ARTISTS TO DIRECT AND EXPAND THEIR PROFESSIONAL CAREERS?
Through my work at Lisson I connect with a number of artists of the gallery program. The artists I am working the closest with are Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, Marina Abramovic, and Cory Arcangel. I do have a strong affinity to time based art so these artists sit well with me. Beyond that I do a certain regional responsibility/ interest – working together with the different Scandinavian institutions in organizing exhibitions with Lisson Gallery artists.
LISSON IS A RENOWNED INTERNATIONAL GALLERY INITIALLY IDENTIFIED AS A STRONGHOLD FOR MINIMAL AND CONCEPTUAL ARTISTS. WHO ARE SOME OF THE ARTISTS THAT THE GALLERY REPRESENTS WITHIN THIS IMPORTANT AND INFLUENTIAL PERIOD THAT PARTICULARLY RESONATE WITH YOU AND WHY?
Sol Lewitt, Carl Andre, On Kawara, Dan Graham and the British artists Richard Long, Art & Language. More than anyone else Dan Graham has really shaped my understanding of art. I think this idea of art as a meeting point between artist and viewer or possibly multiple viewers is incredibly important and relevant – a concept that also expands into architecture, music, and design.
WHILE WORKING TO SUPPORT ITS ARTISTS IN THE SCOPE OF INTERNATIONAL LOCATIONS OF THE GALLERY AND ART FAIRS AROUND THE WORLD, LISSON IS EXCEPTIONAL IN ITS FOCUS ON LARGE-SCALE PUBLIC COMMISSIONS FOR ITS ARTISTS.
IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, WE WILL EXPLORE THE GALLERY’S SUPPORT OF ITS ARTISTS IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, AN IMPRESSIVE ENDEAVOR AND SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO OUR UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATION OF CONTEMPORARY ART.