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Lisson Gallery: Everything at Once

Last year, Store X (180 the Strand) was taken over by The Hayward Gallery for the enormously successful ‘Infinite Mix’ exhibition. Now the Brutalist office block is home to ‘Everything At Once’, an exhibition which celebrates 50 years of Lisson Gallery, one of London’s most pioneering contemporary art galleries. The title of the exhibition is taken from a 1966 quote by John Cage - ‘Nowadays everything happens at once and our souls are conveniently electronic (omniattentive)’ – in which he predicts the instantaneity of our contemporary age.

One of the show’s stated aims is to collapse boundaries between past and present, reflected by the non-chronological hang which sets works from the seventies, like Marina Abramović’s trio of films – Freeing the Mind, Freeing the Body, Freeing the Voice (1975) – against new commissions, such as Richard Long’s Pelopennese Line. The 45 works exhibited come in every imaginable medium, from oil painting to performance to wall paper. The masterful curation is what saves the show from becoming overwhelming, perhaps the biggest risk for an exhibition with such a potpourri of works. The viewer is led to meander around them in a way which is echoed by Ceal Floyer’s Taking a Line for a Walk, a white line which snakes its way from the ground-floor lift up the stairs until it culminates with the line-marking machine which produced it. The diversity of works is reflected in their varying quality. Dan Graham’s Two Vs Entrance-Way (2016), for example, feels hackneyed: when will we tire of seeing ourselves reflected in works of art? However, stand-out pieces include Lee Ufan’s contemplative ‘Dialogue-Silence’ (2013), Tatsuo Miyajima’s mesmerising Time Waterfall (2017) and Arthur Jafa’s beautiful and devastating Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death (2016), a compilation of found footage about the Black American experience, set to Kanye West’s Ultralight Beam. This is an exhibition worth seeing and seeing again, in case you don’t take in everything at once!

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