The Lisson Gallery is located in the “edgy” multi-cultural area to the north of the A40 flyover at Edgeware Road in two purpose-designed complexes in Bell Street which are cultural anchors for the area around them as it goes through regeneration. Indeed a former pub, laundry and telephone box immediately adjacent to the modern gallery building sit sad and covered with graffiti – awaiting redevelopment.
The modern gallery building designed by Tony Fretton Architects does not show its age of over 20 years; it still looks fresh and contemporary, providing a variety of spaces for display with white walls, polished concrete floors, simple geometric staircases and lighting. The other gallery complex is a conversion of more traditional buildings, again providing a variety of gallery spaces; both buildings making as much use as possible of natural light either through windows or through roof lights and slots.
The Lisson Gallery, founded by Nicholas Logsdail and Fiona Hildyard in 1967 to champion artists associated with minimalism and conceptual art, represents new and established artists including Ai Weiwei, Julian Opie, Anish Kapoor and Richard Deacon. The current exhibition “The boys, the girls and the political” reflects the urban location in which the gallery sits and runs across both buildings, a trend seen elsewhere, for example in the Summer Exhibition across the two Halycon Galleries in Bond Street, Mayfair.
Ten international artists present their different views of our changing world – Am Nuden Da, Lucy Beech and Edward Thomasson, Elaine Cameron-Weir, George Henry Longly, Jesper List Thomsen, Beatriz Olabarrieta, Ben Schumacher, Richard Sides, Cally Spooner and Alice Theobald in a variety of media. The exhibits include plants with brass leaves standing in the dynamite holes of marble blocks, a video which appears to be an innocent gym/fitness session, but the sound- rack suggests something more sexual and installations of looping video and furniture or structures in free-flowing environments.
At the entrance to the older building is a copper-clad gateway by George Henry Longly , reminiscent of security detectors at airports and public buildings and which has an interesting acoustic impact as the visitor walks through, while scattered throughout the galleries are patches of blue filler, an ongoing work by the group An Nuden Da that is executed once an exhibition has been set up and uses the same blue colour as Facebook’s branding, which suggests both creeping physical decay and also the creeping influence of social media.
A stimulating exhibition in these two galleries located at the heart of the gradual regeneration of this area to the north of the A40 flyover.