Sculpture: A British tradition, with Claus Robenhagen of Lisson Gallery
IN APRIL OF THIS YEAR, WME-IMG, THE RECENTLY ESTABLISHED VISUAL ARTS DIVISION OF THE POWERFUL LOS ANGELES-BASED LITERARY AND TALENT AGENCY, PARTNERED WITH FRIEZE ART FAIR. THE INTENTION IS TO PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR ARTISTS AND GALLERIES BY OFFERING MULTIDISCIPLINARY PLATFORMS TO SHOWCASE ART WORKS, PUBLIC COMMISSIONS AND INSTALLATION PROJECTS. AS THE ART MARKET HAS BECOME INCREASINGLY GLOBAL IN SCOPE, THE AUDIENCE FOR CONTEMPORARY AND MODERN ART HAD INCREASED MONUMENTALLY AND NON-TRADITIONAL APPROACHES OF REPRESENTATION AND EXPOSURE HAVE EMERGED.
FACILITATING AND SUPPORTING PUBLIC COMMISSIONS FOR THE ARTISTS THEY REPRESENT IS AN ESTABLISHED TRADITION FOR GALLERIES OF THE SCOPE AND SCALE OF LISSON, LONDON/MILAN/NEW YORK. LISSON GALLERY, FOUNDED IN 1967, HAS VAST EXPERIENCE IN PRODUCING LARGE SCALE PUBLIC COMMISSIONS AND HAS ENABLED, SUPPORTED AND CURATED MANY PUBLIC PROJECTS, BOTH TEMPORARY AND PERMANENT.
MOST RECENTLY, SPENCER FINCH WAS SELECTED TO CREATE A PERMANENT MONUMENTAL WORK FOR A NEW TRAIN STATION CONCOURSE AT PADDINGTON STATION, LONDON. THE WORK, ENTITLED, A Cloud Index, WILL FEATURE 200 PANELS OF DIGITALLY PRINTED CLOUD FORMATIONS CELEBRATING THE TRADITIONAL OF ENGLISH LANDSCAPE PAINTERS SUCH AS CONSTABLE AND TURNER, MERGING ART AND TECHNOLOGY.
SINCE 2009, AI WEIWEI HAS CREATED A SERIES OF MONUMENTAL SCULPTURES OF TREES FROM DIFFERENT SPECIES COLLECTED FROM MOUNTAIN AREAS AROUND SOUTHERN CHINA TO LOOK LIKE NEW, ARTIFICIAL TREES, AN IDEA THAT DEVELOPED FROM THE Sunflower Seeds MANUFACTURED FOR THE ARTIST’S 2010 EXHIBITION AT THE TATE MODERN. TO HIGHLIGHT ONE ADDITIONAL PUBLIC COMMISSION OF MANY, THE GALLERY ARRANGED FOR DANIEL BURN TO CREATE AN INSPIRED PERMANENT INSTALLATION FOR THE BELGIAN CITY OF NIEUWPOORT OF 100 FLAGPOLES, A COLORFUL FOREST OF WEATHERVANES TO ENLIVEN THE CITY’s COASTAL SCULPTURE PARK.
THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO HAVE CLAUS ROBENHAGEN, DIRECTOR OF LISSON GALLERY, AND A PERCEPTIVE AND ASTUTE NAVIGATOR OF THE CONTEMPORARY ART GLOBAL TERRAIN, JOIN US. TODAY’S FOCUS IS ON MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY SCULPTURE, ITS HISTORICAL LEGACY, CURRENT LUMINARIES AND FUTURE STARS.
CLAUS, THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING IN THE LRFA BLOG.
BRITAIN IS A PARTICULARLY GREAT STRONGHOLD FOR THE SCULPTURAL TRADITION. THE OBVIOUS 20th CENTURY LUMINARIES HENRY MOORE AND BARBARA HEPWORTH IMMEDIATELY COME TO MIND. LISSON REPRESENTS AN ENTIRE GENERATION OF IMPORTANT BRITISH SCULPTORS. WHO ARE SOME OF THESE ARTISTS?
A strong part of the legacy of Lisson Gallery deals with the New British Sculpture movement of the early 1980s. Anish Kapoor, Shirazeh Houshiary, Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Richard Wentworth.
WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE BRITISH SCULPTORS THAT THE GALLERY REPRESENTS THERE IS A WIDE RANGE OF SENSIBLITIES AND AESTHETICS. HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE THE SCALE AND SCOPE OF THE SCULPTORS THAT MAKE UP THE GALLERY ROSTER?
As a group it is difficult to find this one thing that unifies a very varied range of practices. However when these artists emerged in the 1980s their complex relationship with production – at the same time traditional and post-industrial – marked a real departure from the Conceptualism and Minimalism of the previous decade. When you look at the works today what find most striking is their ability to strike a very direct and meaningful chord within the viewer. It is bold and gutsy art.
LISSON ALSO REPRESENTS A DIVERSE RANGE OF CONTEMPORARY AND EMERGING ARTISTS. WHAT IS THE SELECTION PROCESS TO ADD NEW TALENT TO THE ESTABLISHED AND DISTINGUISHED ROSTER? IS THERE AN AESTHETIC AND STYLISTIC THREAD OR SIMPLY A QUALITATIVE ONE?
As a gallery we are less interested in promoting a certain aesthetic spanning different generations. When I look at our program I see a selection of absolute highlights from the last 50 years – from the Minimalist and Conceptual artists of the 1960s and 1970s to the sculptors of the 1980s and the reemergence of conceptualism and relational art of the 1990s. Our most recent additions to the program address an art world that has expanded from just being Europe and North America to become truly global.
WHO ARE SOME OF THE CURRENT ARTISTS THAT THE GALLERY REPRESENTS THAT PARTICULARLY RESONATE WITH YOU AND WHY?
I am very taken with the works of Haroon Mirza who is one of the young artists of our program. Haroon Mirza works with light, sound, and technology. The praxis is often collaborative in the sense that it involves other artists’ works. He is really pushing new frontiers in both how he uses technology and also more generally authorship and the importance of context.
IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, CLAUS WILL INFORM US ABOUT THE SPECTACULAR NEW GALLERY SPACE IN NEW YORK BUILT UNDER THE HIGH LINE AT 24th, HIS PERSPECTIVE ON ART FAIRS AND THE FUTURE OF THE CONTEMPORARY MARKET.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS- KEEP THEM COMING!