Anish Kapoor

Lisson gallery
Anish Kapoor
13 May – 22 July 2016
Via Zenale 3, Milan, 20123

For his first exhibition with Lisson Gallery Milan, Anish Kapoor presents a new series of 14 stainless steel sculptures, the forms of which have been twisted through an unspecified number of degrees, never amounting to more than a quarter of a turn, or 90°. Shown together for the first time as an entire group, these small-scale, abstract works nevertheless contain different, recognisable ‘footprints’ – ranging from an L-shape, a W-shape and an oval, to a crescent moon, an equilateral triangle and a figure-eight, among others. These twists (measuring 30cm or one foot in height) are mounted on plinths, sharing space and interacting with one another, but will also be accompanied by one larger twist (100cm, 3.2 feet), located outside on the terrace.
The highly polished surfaces of the twist sculptures create fleeting, fluid reflections that dissipate or disrupt any stable imagery, denying viewers the certainty of either the form’s pre-twisted state – which may also be symbolic, scientific or spiritual in origin – or their own, familiar and fixed likeness beaming back at them. The artist has referred to similar bodies of work as ‘non-objects’, when the internal geometry and perfectly reflective material carry the conditions of their own disappearance.
Many of Kapoor’s best-known mirrored steel pieces, such as the monumental Cloud Gate (2004) in Chicago’s Millennium Park and C-Curve (2007) at the Chateau de Versailles in 2015, have concentrated on the curve – on the sinuous surface, both convex and concave, both enfolding and expanding. The twist, however, relies on the rotational pull around a central, vertical fulcrum to keep its outermost reaches within gravitational orbit. Indeed, every one of the twisted forms seems to be held just at the optimum moment, mid-spin. Kapoor’s contorting forms provide a lens for seeing the universe as it really is, where light is warped on its way through space and our intuition is turned inside out, or in this case, on its side and then vertiginously up or down as if being flung through a chute.Continue Reading..


James Casebere

James Casebere
26 November – 15 January 2016
LISSON GALLERY, via Zenale 3, Milan, 20123

James Casebere’s first solo exhibition in Milan presents recent bodies of work that take the natural world as their subject matter and iconic works of art as their starting points. The American artist’s staged photographs – shot in the studio from models that have been intricately assembled and cinematically lit – present a pastoral that is permeated with culture.
For over forty years Casebere has explored the fictional possibilities of photography, testing his medium’s supposed truth-telling properties to document fabrications of reality. His pictures are both poetic and political, creating simulacra that usurp reality to expose what art historian Hal Foster considers “a psychopathology of everyday life”. Casebere’s works have progressively depicted a wider perspective: the surrealist domestic scenes and claustrophobic vistas of his early pieces gave way to hauntingly evocative architectural interiors and exteriors of building typologies found both in the United States and the Middle East, while his Duchess County series (begun in 2009 and still ongoing) takes an aerial perspective of an entirely made-up, though acutely plausible community. He has also depicted urban areas blighted by mortgage foreclosures, hurricane Sandy and even destroyed by fire, although he is often attracted as much by the architecture, as in a series of wooden beach houses, one of which was originally built as a local life-boat station, again positing a site of potential catastrophe or rescue. In all these un-peopled environments, Casebere produces a deep ambiguity, pulling the viewer in as a participant through distortions that seem psychologically wrought and convey an uncanny sense of foreboding.
For his exhibition in Milan, Casebere once again executes a shift in perspective, this time immersing the viewer in the midst of landscapes that directly reference the art of the past to critically address man’s uneasy relationship with nature today. A major new piece from last year, Sea of Ice, and related works Trees and Bushes in the Snow (all 2014) revisit the work of the German Romantic landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774 – 1840) to comment subtly on climate crisis. In Sea of Ice, Friedrich’s famous scene of frozen desolation currently housed at Kunsthalle Hamburg in Germany, has been exquisitely recreated by Casebere in his studio out of simple materials, suggesting the terrible sublime of nature has been entirely requisitioned by man, its spirituality no longer tenable. Taking inspiration from Friedrich’s painting of the same name, Casebere’s Trees and Bushes in the Snow series, meanwhile, employ found materials — real vegetation from the artist’s garden and kitchen ingredients such as bicarbonate of soda whose pristine whiteness is a chemical stand-in for the unadulterated purity of snow.Continue Reading..


Broomberg & Chanarin: Rudiments

Broomberg & Chanarin: Rudiments
25 September – 31 October 2015

Broomberg & Chanarin’s debut solo exhibition at Lisson Gallery consists of new photographic, moving image and performative works that collectively explore tensions between discipline and chance, precision and chaos, empathy and the involuntary pleasure of watching the pain of others. Central to the show is a new film work, Rudiments (2015) in which the artists have collaborated with a group of young army cadets at a military camp on the outskirts of Liverpool. Whether Broomberg & Chanarin have staged the scenes we observe or have simply documented the camp’s routine practice remains unclear. The young soldiers-in-training are seen marching, drumming and obeying instructions – enacting a collective, authoritarian form of obedience – with varying degrees of success.

The absurd and disturbing introduction of a ‘bouffon’ – a dark clown whose performance teeters on vulgarity – radically challenges the martial codes supposedly being taught and interrupts their carefully choreographed routines. The children also learn how to pratfall, ‘play dead’ or deliver convincing blows to one another, performing comic actions that are seemingly at odds with the hierarchical structures of the army. Broomberg & Chanarin’s film explores the experience of empathy or the enjoyment of pain in others through formative moments of childhood and innocence of early youth, as well as highlighting the importance of cadets to the armed services and especially the historical role of the drummer boy in battle. The work’s title refers to the 40 rudiments that form the technical foundation of percussive music – including rolls, strokes and paradiddles – while the soundtrack is propelled by a dramatic, improvised score devised for the drums by the American musician Kid Millions (also known as John Colpitts).Continue Reading..


Tony Cragg

Tony Cragg
29 May – 18 September 2015

Via Zenale 3, Milan

Tony Cragg’s first exhibition at the Lisson Gallery Milan consists of several new sculptures in bronze, wood and stone. Alongside these are a number of works on paper. The upright sculptures in the gallery are the result of complex internal formal constructions and geometries that give rise to outer forms that we can recognise, have associations with and give names to. Cragg’s complex polymorphic sculptures reveal aspects of the relationship between the rational internal dynamic of materials and our subjective response to material forms. For Cragg this is not only the essence of all sculpture, but of all our experiences in the world as well. His work is full of movement, growth, dynamism and a sense of wonder at the seemingly unlimited possibilities of sculptural form.

Cragg exhibits two larger bronze and marble works – Over the Earth and First Person, the latter outside the gallery. In these works, Cragg looks not only to nature and the forces of energy found in the organic world, but he also references an enhanced and extruded reality as experienced through technology and the multiple perspectives afforded to us by the pace and prisms of modern life.

Several of the works at Lisson Gallery Milan have close corollaries with seven of Cragg’s sculptures being exhibited concurrently at the Duomo di Milano (as part of the Milan Expo, until 31 October). The centrepiece of his collaboration with the Duomo is a work in the Duomo entitled Paradosso (Paradox), seemingly inspired by the golden statue of the Madonnina (Little Madonna), which sits atop the uppermost spire, traditionally marking Milan’s highest point. Cragg’s exhibition on the roof terraces of the Duomo presents a further six monumental sculptures, that jostle with the static gothic architecture and the Milanese skyline.Continue Reading..