When we think of the Lisson Gallery we think of the building by Tony Fretton that presents its interior to the street and builds contemporary form from the different dialects of the city around it. But that building from 1992 is in fact a continuation of the first building for the Lisson Gallery from 1986 also by Fretton, where he established ideas that were fundamental to both projects and to his practice as a whole.
The process of originating and materialising those ideas through sketches, words and thought is the subject of this book. Tony Fretton produced 43 sketchbooks for the Lisson Gallery 1, over the course of four years, between 1982 and 1986. In addition to the sheer volume of production for one project, what is remarkable about the books is that one never sees the project – that is, Tony draws the details only, leaving the larger aspects of design to other media. Fretton met with Tina di Carlo, on 24 January 2018 in his Highgate office to talk through seven of the Lisson Gallery 1 sketchbooks. The publication, which includes series of Fretton’s iterative sketches along with a written transcript, captures the conversation as it evolved over the course of four hours. Eschewing visuality in his architecture for what could be described instead as its social performance, Fretton’s text is similarly pared down – precise and direct, lacking in ornamentation – through an editing process which, and by analogy, became akin to his sketchbooks. The publication includes a foreword by Ellis Woodman, and an afterword, Working with Tony Fretton, by Jonathan Sergison.
Edited by Tina di Carlo. Published by Drawing Matter Somerset, 2018.