Lisson Gallery at Art Basel 2023
24 May 2023
15 – 18 June
At the 2023 edition of Art Basel, Lisson Gallery’s presentation in the galleries sector highlights painting and sculpture by artists in its roster including Olga de Amaral, Ryan Gander, Rodney Graham, Hugh Hayden, Carmen Herrera, Anish Kapoor, Richard Long, Hélio Oiticica, Laure Prouvost, Li Ran, Sean Scully, Leon Polk Smith and more. The gallery is also delighted to present two solo artist projects at Art Unlimited by Cory Arcangel and Yu Hong.
Coinciding with his major solo exhibition of painting and sculpture at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, UK, Lisson Gallery presents a new painting by Sean Scully, in which tessellating blocks of colour suggest segments of stone walls and the areas of light that seep through the cracks between them. Tappan Deep (2023) makes reference to the artist’s studio in Upstate New York, with rich, organic-seeming shades of blue, green, red and ochre surrounding a block of luminous, cloud-like grey at the painting’s centre.
The gallery is also pleased to show Carmen Herrera’s Angulo Azul (2017/2018) from her series of monumental Estructuras, as well as the artist’s acrylic on canvas Cadmium orange with blue from 1989. Alongside these are a work from Anish Kapoor’s lustrously coloured series of ‘mirrors’, similarly presented with new and recent oil on canvas works by Kapoor which further explore the artist’s investigations into the deep inner world of our mind and body.
Rodney Graham’s photography, film, music, performance and painting pulled at the threads of cultural and intellectual history, presenting cyclical narratives that pop with puns and references. Sunday Sun, 1937 (2012) takes inspiration from a filmic gag in Alfred Hitchcocks’s The Lady Vanishes, in which two characters are revealed to be sharing a humorously small bed, holding the same newspaper between them. Graham’s lightbox work depicts the comic section of a Vancouver newspaper from the same year as Hitchcock’s film, with the heavier news of impending war notably absent.
Following a major solo exhibition at Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich (9 February – 7 May 2023), an important 1969 painting by Leon Polk Smith from his exuberant Constellation series of shaped, multi-part canvases is shown alongside two works on paper from the same period.
Lisson also brings to Basel sculpture by Olga de Amaral, whose Umbra 50 Rio (2006-2016) takes form as a densely yet delicately textured hanging work in linen, gesso and acrylic, its surface shimmering with an application of gold leaf. A rare sculpture from Hélio Oiticica’s Bólides series – sculptural works “possessed or inflamed by color” that were crucial to his increasing interest in creating participatory artworks – is shown alongside two of the artist’s earlier gouache on cardboard Metaesquema paintings (both 1958).
An ambitious new work by Hugh Hayden, Reynolds Wrap (2023), is suspended above the booth, featuring a group of the artist’s mask-like skillets hung from a steel pan rack. First shown with Lisson Gallery in London in 2020, Hayden’s skillets merge both the function and form of both the skillet as early African cookware and the ancestral and ceremonial origins of the West-African masks that protrude from their surfaces. Elsewhere, Allora & Calzadilla’s Aeolian Chart (2022) is the fourth in a series utilising contemporary weather forecasting technology to create watercolour compositions, while Ryan Gander presents a work from his ongoing I be… series of wall mounted sculptures, comprising antique mirrors over which a dust sheet cast in marble resin appear to be draped.
For Art Basel’s Unlimited section, Cory Arcangel presents Related to your interests (2020-2021), a collection of hundreds of bot-generated Youtube videos scripted out of repurposed content from ‘clickbait’ websites. The nonsensical and aesthetically dissonant narrative derives from text, images or articles assembled together and is read through an artificially generated voice. Each video composition is uploaded by the bot onto its Youtube channel – a process entirely devoid of the artist’s agency.
Arcangel has been exploring the potential and failures of old and new digital technologies, highlighting their obsolescence, humor, aesthetic attributes and, at times, eerie influence in contemporary life. Applying a semi-archeological methodology, his practice explores, encodes, and hacks the structural language of video games, software, social media and machine learning — treating them as subject matter and medium.
Also at Art Basel Unlimited is Yu Hong’s colossal, three-panel painting titled The Ship of Fools (2021). Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s eponymous painting, the work similarly takes its themes from fantasy and mythology. Yu Hong depicts a crowd struggling and climbing onto a boat about to capsize in front of a magnificent glacier and raging waves, while the carefree animals reveling in the beauty of the landscape. The viewer is invited to reflect on how all living creatures, including humans, are all a part of the same ecosystem.
Yu Hong is known for her large-scale figurative paintings that vividly depict the nuanced experiences and psychological landscape of contemporary China. Trained in the Socialist Realist tradition, the artist evolved a style that uniquely and intimately stemmed from her own experiences, reflecting those of her generation, observing the rapid economic and social changes that took around her. Working primarily with acrylic paint on canvas, Yu Hong approaches her work through a distinctly female lens, considering the relationship between the individual – in particular the role of the woman in society – within the community as a whole.
Photography by Dawn Blackman