The LISTE Interviews: Toby Webster

In partnership with E. Gutzwiller & Cie, Banquiers

The Modern Institute’s presentation at LISTE 1999. Courtesy the artists and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow

LISTE first opened its doors in 1996 and since then has developed into a key art fair for new galleries. E.Gutzwiller & Cie, Banquiers has been a supporter from the beginning, and has been the main partner since 1997. The private bank, located in Basel, was founded in 1886 by Carl Gutzwiller and is still owned and managed by the Gutzwiller family and their partners. Ahead of this year’s fair ArtReview has asked four LISTE alumni to reflect on their first LISTE. Toby Webster, who cofounded The Modern Institute in Glasgow in 1997, representing artists including Martin Boyce, Jim Lambie, Eva Rothschild and Cathy Wilkes, exhibited at LISTE for the first time in 1999.

LISTE was founded in 1996. How did you become involved in the fair?

We applied, and as a gallery outside London in the UK we were accepted. I drove with Jim Lambie and Simon Starling from Glasgow all the way to Basel and installed one of Jim's floor pieces. We met so many people – artists, gallerists and curators. I remember it being a lot of fun and the booth spectacular.

What can smaller art fairs offer artists and younger galleries that the larger fairs cannot?

The gallery can take more risks at the smaller fairs as they are usually more affordable to do – you can introduce an artist with a solo stand for example. These are also very good opportunities to work with your colleagues at other galleries, meeting up to exchange ideas and artists.

Are art fairs as important now as they were when you first did LISTE?

Yes, art fairs are important, although it has changed so much. Galleries immediately expect to sell a lot of work, which is not always the reality, it can take time.

What advice would you give younger galleries applying to LISTE?

Be true to the artists and try to really represent what they want to do. Then you will be individual and stand out.