From the wave of tape strips crashing turbulently into the front window of the gallery, to the streak of white marker paint mounting the staircase, the ‘line’ is an unruly presence at Lisson Gallery’s new exhibition. Curated by sketch-centric not-for-profit gallery Drawing Room, Line explores what happens when it leaps off the page and into three dimensional space – when representation becomes form.
Monika Grzymala’s black paper and clear tape work – ‘Raumzeichnung (outside/ inside)’, (2016) – frees a tangled scribble of lines from the flat surface of the wall, allowing the ‘drawn’ lines to reconfigure the shape of the gallery. Its gestural quality is echoed by a photograph on the opposite wall recording Tom Marioni’s ‘One Second Sculpture’ (1969), for which the artist threw a coiled tailor’s tape into the air, allowing it to unfurl as it fell.
Lisson’s own history makes an appearance courtesy of Sol LeWitt’s ‘Wall Drawing #157’, a diagonal line that was first drawn onto the gallery wall by founder Nicholas Logsdail in 1973 and which has been re-inscribed for the show like a persistent but expensive stain or haunting-by-Crayola.
Another ghost image emerged from the fingers of Susan Hiller over the week of performances that went into ‘Work in Progress ‘(1980), during which the artist picked apart a canvas and created new works from the extracted threads. The residue exhibited here includes knitted and knotted forms that resemble whips, and hammocks of tangles suspended across the corner of the room.
The denuded strands that dangle from the upper strip of the canvas still suggest the shape once occupied by the painting and show faint traces of blue from the image it once carried.
Animated for the opening by dancers, Athanasios Argianas’s ‘Song Machine 19’ (2011) lays a slack and shiny brass strip across and around a steel frame as if it were pliable audiotape. In place of recorded sound, the brass is etched with a series of subjective measurements: ‘…a plane of strands/ of the width of your arms unfolded,/ folded to form a cylinder…’
Reading the strip provokes performance-like actions by visitors as they duck and bow to follow the text around the structure.
While some of the more conceptual works verge on the puckeringly dry (it is hard not to long for Florian Pumhösl’s white line animation ‘Tract’ (2011) to morph into Osvaldo Cavandoli’s considerably more LOLs-provoking ‘La Linea’), balancing levity is provided by Ceal Floyer. The Berlin-based artist’s ‘Taking a Line for a Walk’ (2008) takes the titular proposal quite literally with the help of a line-making machine more commonly deployed on football pitches – the streaks on the staircase bear witness to its bumpy ascent to the first floor, painting as it went.
Line runs from 22 January to 12 March at Lisson, 52 Bell Street, London NW1.