What was it like working on and curating Lisson Gallery’s booth for Frieze?
As a visitor to the fair, it’s difficult to imagine the volume and intricacy of work that goes into the planning. The project of bringing the booth to fruition was a huge team effort. We are a substantial team at the gallery, undertaking day-to-day liaising with the artist’s studio, our internal technical team, and the fair staff.
Throughout the process, we had a timeline of deadlines to meet. That ranged from choosing the type of flooring for the booth and determining how many electrical sockets we needed (and where), to mocking up imagery for the ads in the lifts at the Regent’s Park tube stop.
What were the first steps in planning the installation?
After the first conversations with Laure, where she shared her initial ideas and the very first drawing of what she imagined, we did a rendering to show how the plans would occupy the space available on the booth. We continued updating the rendering as her drawings became more and more precise.
What can you tell us about the installation itself?
The booth brought together so many different types of work: films shown on Sony Cube monitors, unique glass pigeon sculptures, each standing in a small pile of bird seed and holding a branch in their beaks which transform into an electrical cable, silk protest flags, hand sewn to branch flag poles, and of course the sumptuously painted canvases panels – some of which have holes in them through which you can either see through to discover other works or perspectives, and some of which are connected to a silk glove which invites you to reach inside.
I would not be surprised if this was the only interactive booth at Frieze London!
Can you talk about how the project evolved over time, and whether there were any major turning points or “Aha!” moments?
The gallery worked closely with the artist’s studio to see what elements we could help with sourcing or commissioning, such as the round central seat inside the standing canvas installation (inspired by the one at the artist’s solo exhibition at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen last year), to the vintage Sony Cubes mounted on bespoke stands. The thirteen standing hinged canvases you will find delineating the shape of a ‘see star’ across the booth were specially made for the project to a very particular specification. Confirming every one of these details felt like a win, and got us closer and closer to helping the artist realise her vision.
What were you most looking forward to once the fair opened and the public was able to view the work for the first time?
The nature of Prouvost’s work is experiential and participatory. Anyone who visited her French Pavilion exhibition at the 2019 Venice Biennale (which went on to tour in France and the Netherlands), or her solo exhibition at M HKA, Antwerp in 2019, will recall the immersive experience of navigating new realms and discovering so many sensations.
Exhibiting a single artwork by the artist belies the full experience of her installations. By presenting a dedicated solo booth, we were able to replicate, albeit on a smaller scale, the experience of one of the artist’s immersive exhibitions.
The solo booth has allowed us to present a very large tapestry – the largest one we have ever shown by Prouvost at any art fair – measuring almost 3m high and over 4m across.
By installing so many of the artist’s works together, visitors are able to see the threads of her practice which weave throughout her oeuvre and manifest in so many different physical forms. The experience of the work in this totality is much more coherent than seeing a single work on its own.
Can you tell us about the public’s actual experience of the installation during the Fair?
After so many months of preparations, it was exciting to finally share the booth with the audience of the fair. When visitors approached the booth, they were confronted with the backs of the canvases and the aluminium stretchers. A gap between two panels invited one to enter into an immersive environment, where the viewer became surrounded by visual and audio stimuli.
The booth contained many surprises, from being greeted by the painting versos to discovering other works both inside and outside the enclosure. Even beyond these surprises, the immersive, multimedia solo booth was unexpected – both for Lisson and for Frieze – so it was a welcome and unique experience for visitors new to Lisson and with longtime supporters of the gallery alike.
Where else can we see Laure’s work this year?
The artist just opened her first solo exhibition in Spain at La Casa Encendida, Madrid, on view until early January 2023, which brings together twelve years of audio visual installation.
Opening next month in Norway, the Fredriksen Family Commission at the new Nasjonalmuseet Oslo will represent Prouvost’s most ambitious, immersive installation to date.