TRANSLATED BY 翻譯 x Harry Liu 劉競晨
IMAGE COURTESY BY 圖片提供 x Marcus Lyon 馬可斯·里昂
Marcus Lyon, a British photographic artist, founded his studio in a large dilapidated glass factory in Kennington, London, 25 years ago. The area is hidden just south east of Westminster and Waterloo, popular with MP’s and the creative communities alike, it has undergone significant regeneration in the very recent past and provides an inspirational working environment at the heart of the city. Lyon’s career success tracks a similar path, in 1990 he bought a small brown-field plot of land and founded the multidisciplinary art studio, The Glassworks: a gallery, exhibition venue and centre of production for collaborative and original art. Outside his art practice Lyon is a director of Somerset House and a significant portrait artist. In that role he has been commissioned to photograph a diverse range of public figures, from Queen Elizabeth II, to the actor Bill Nighy and the last four British Prime Ministers.
Over the course of his 30-year art career, Lyon has explored themes of global expansion and social migration in the modern world, searching for meaning in our mass behaviours. From micro to the macro explorations of the issues at the heart of globalization, the megacity and migration, his work stimulates thinking about the relationship between man and the natural world.
During the interview, Lyon radiates an infectious enthusiasm for the all he does, as an artist, a determined social entrepreneur and an active public speaker on both photography and development.
ART.ZIP: Would you consider your studio as a home?
ML: That’s a great question – as a matter of fact, there are many times when I leave my family house on the way to the studio and say to my wife Bel, “I’m just off home, I’ll be back soon.” So I often speak of The Glassworks as a home, and as I hope you can see from your welcome here today, anyone who visits is received with genuine warmth, invited to share a meal and enjoy art in an intimate and inspirational environment. Those values of how you treat other people are absolutely at the heart of how I want my practice to be – collaborative, ethical, inclusive and open to diversity, nationality and gender. So this is a place with an open door policy, after all the themes of my work are mass behaviours, so I need to listen to a broad audience.
ART.ZIP: What key words would you use to explain your space?
ML: Collaborative. We collaborate every day…. I want everybody here to feel emotionally open. I also like the word vulnerable – being able to talk about all things. Set and frame difficult questions…perhaps we could explore the idea of this place as an emotional laboratory?
But I also think it is really important that we have to be professional and honest – with total commitment to quality….nothing that comes out of this studio can be hurried, there has to be a focus on the purity of the idea and thought leadership…we must lead with the quality of our creative thinking.
ART.ZIP: You have also successfully used your space to show your work too?
ML: Yes, the Glassworks is fabulous for showing work, but I also have several significant private dealers and galleries in Paris and Rio that promote my work. We have sold to museums, private collections and through auction houses from here, but now is the time for a great gallery in New York, Hong Kong or Beijing.
ART.ZIP: You’ve had this space for 25 years, are there any special moments or stories?
ML: Having both lived and worked here, it has become a very intimate place. I think the energy that came with this building when I moved in was obvious. I saw it and I felt it the minute I arrived…. the stories that I like the best are about how diverse this space has been… it has been a venue for so many different creative endeavours – a Russian orchestra did a performance here once. We have had plays here, performance poetry, art shows and seminars… we have had multiple private parties here including hen and stag nights and fortieth, fiftieth, sixtieth, and a seventieth birthdays too – it’s been the most fabulous location for all human celebrations.
I think back to when I was developing the land and I had finished with phase one of the development, we did a 7 pm to 7 am warehouse party. We had a chill-out room, a soul dance floor, a techno dance floor, a garden area with barbecue and jazz, and two bars…. everywhere was different ….it was like a nightclub. A week later, at about ten o’clock on a Friday night, my assistant opened the door to a young couple who came to enquire if “the club was open again?” So it was as good as a club – for one night. Indeed we heard from a friend who was walking the Inca trail in Peru that he overheard a couple talking about this amazing party they attended in a photographic gallery in Kennington – so word even travelled to the high Andes …and then there are all the memories of wonderful people we have photographed here.
ART.ZIP: Like the Queen?
ML: Sadly she didn’t come here – I was commissioned to visit her. As an artist, having a studio where people want to visit has been such a huge gift; it is like a magnet for people to the work – an active creative community. I suppose when you think of studios throughout history, say Andy Warhol’s Factory 59 – everyone was drawn there to share and meet. I think almost the most powerful thing that has come from the studio is the huge community of people who have worked here and met here and then gone on to work and collaborate together. Indeed, we have several friends who have met here and gone on to marry – so I think that is definitely the right way to describe it – as a community.
ML: 很遺憾，拍攝她的時候是我被邀請去了她的地方。作為一名藝術家，自己的工作室能夠成為吸引人們拜訪的地方，這是一種莫大的榮耀，它像磁鐵一樣吸引著人們來這裡欣賞作品，營造了一個積極的富有創造力的氛圍。當你回顧歷史上出現過的藝術家工作室，安迪·沃霍爾（Andy Warhol）的59號工廠工作室，就是這樣一個吸引人們聚會、討論和分享思想的地方。我覺得工作室空間最強大的一個特性就是它打造了一個巨大的社區和群體，讓人們能在這裡相聚並且一起合作完成工作。實際上我有好幾個朋友就是在這裡相遇並且最終成為了夫婦，所以我覺得用“社區”來形容工作室也是非常準確的。
ART.ZIP: Maybe a little bit like a temple – where people come with the same beliefs…
ML: Yes, perhaps. With a small ‘t’, because I don’t think there are any over-riding set religious beliefs, other than a focus on creation. I now have thirty ex-assistants who used to work alongside me are out there as artists today. In terms of The Glassworks ethos many of them now collaborate. There is a true Glassworks network out there continuing to populate and inspire other studios. This is the true legacy of having an inspirational creative space to communicate from…
ML: 是的，很有可能，不過這裡並不是宗教意義上的“寺廟”，因為除了創造力以外，我並不認為有能夠淩駕世間萬物的宗教信仰。在這裡，我曾經有過30位助理，這些人現在都已經成為了藝術家，他們依然延續著這裡工作室的傳統，而且“玻璃車間（The Glassworks）”工作室搭建起來的人際網絡還在不斷地充實、啟發和影響著其他工作室。這裡是一個真實的工作室傳奇，一個讓人獲得靈感的創意之地。
“Emotionally and environmentally these mass ideas, actions, movements of people, production processes are so huge that no single image can define their influence. So I have endeavoured to create new visual languages within which I can communicate a deeper truth.”
“ The proposition behind my work is that I believe my audience is more visually literate and the world is more complex than allows me to communicate what I wish to say in a single image…so I bring together multiple opinions in super complex montages to illustrate a deeper truth of our time”
“The studio is a sacred place of creative endeavor that must encourage a sense of wonder and a desire to seek out that place where higher level generative thinking and idea generation can flourish and be made real”
“ No art is made in isolation: in truth all work is made in some form of collaboration. For me it is at the heart of the process to look back and realize how many heads, hands and influences have come together to create a final piece.”