Marthe Lisson on Art
Written by Marthe Lisson
Posted 27 September 2022
It’s rare that an art book comes with a personal story. As we ease ourselves into this new strand of the Voices column and as we begin to get to know each other, let me share one with you.
I first discovered ARTIST | WORK | LISSON on a shelf in the office at Whitechapel Gallery and thought it was so cool to see my surname in bold letters on the spine of a book for everyone to see.
(I thought you would ask! No, I have no relation to the gallery other than my ancestors potentially giving Lisson Street its name, where the gallery is situated.)
It was 2018 and I was working on the re-launch of the London Art Book Fair. Whether my sales skills paid off or the team at Lisson joined without much convincing, I don’t remember. Either way, that’s how I got to know Zoë Anspach. On the last day of the Fair weekend, she handed me ARTIST | WORK | LISSON: ‘It’s yours.’ I couldn’t believe my luck and in disbelief asked why? ‘Because you are Marthe Lisson.’
I will always remember this gesture and ever since ARTIST | WORK | LISSON sits proudly on my book shelf. This anecdote certainly influenced the decision to make it the first art book to present in this column. Though firstly, because it is a supreme example of what an art book design can be. We might even go as far as to say: art books connect. And with this in mind I hope that we – you, dear reader, and me – will build a solid connection over art books over the course of this column.
In 2017, Lisson Gallery celebrated its 50th anniversary with a catalogue raisonné (of sorts) that brings together 152 artists and their jointly accumulated more than 500 solo exhibitions in one of the gallery’s spaces in London, Milan and New York between 1967 and 2017.