The inaugural exhibition for Lisson Gallery Milan, 'I Know About Creative Block And I Know Not To Call It By Name' (16 September – 5 November 2011), explored the ebb and flow of the creative process; the stumbling blocks artists face in their daily practice; the ideas hidden in distraction, detours and seemingly unproductive pursuits.

According to the curator Ryan Gander: “An artist’s vocation often involves the avoidance of activity, as much as keeping busy. How many times have we heard clichés related to the over-working of a painting, the over-editing of a text or a concept becoming clouded by the complexity of its own meaning? Often it seems when we stop and walk away, go for a drive in the car, sit in a pub with friends, put a record on and make a cup of tea – allow the world to take hold of us – that the magic dust begins to fall. And on a good day when the tap is fully open, it can come with palpitations and stomach wrenching excitement that makes you double over in surprise.

I think that’s the beginnings of explaining why being an artist is such a privilege. The rest, however, happens in the studio: staring at a sheet of white paper with a fear of making a move, turning it over and over to see if the reverse side will inspire a beginning of something. I’m not naturally a superstitious man, but I know about creative block, and I know not to call it by name.” 

The exhibition featured works by Allora & Calzadilla, Cory Arcangel, Art & Language, Gerard Byrne, Spencer Finch, Ryan Gander, Haroon Mirza, Jonathan Monk, Giulio Paolini and Lawrence Weiner.

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